Zambian bishop, 53, dies of COVID-19 complications

820.jpeg Bishop Moses Hamungole of Monze, Zambia. Public domain.

Bishop Moses Hamungole of Zambia's Monze Diocese died Wednesday of COVID-19-related complications. He was 53.

The bishop had been receiving care at the Lusaka-based Levy Mwanawasa Hospital. He tested positive for COVID-19 on January 2.

In a January 4 Facebook post, the bishop said he was in "stable condition" with good oxygen levels. He said he was "calm and confident" that he would recover.

Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Lusaka in August 1994, Hamungole has been at the helm of the Diocese of Monze since May 2014.

At the time of his death, Hamungole was also serving as the chairman of the Commission for Social Communications at the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops. He was also the chairman of the department of Social Communications at the Nairobi-based Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa.

Bishop Hamungole is the first Catholic bishop known to have contracted the coronavirus in Zambia, where 31,100 cases and 509 deaths have been reported.

In Africa, the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), Phillip Cardinal Ouédraogo, tested positive for the coronavirus in April 2020 and later recovered. Earlier, in March 2020, the Vicar Apostolic of Ethiopia's Gambella Vicariate, Bishop Angelo Moreschi, succumbed to the virus.

In August, the Bishop of Nigeria's Yola Diocese also tested positive for COVID-19 and later recovered.

The Archbishop of Kenya's Nyeri Archdiocese who recovered from the disease expressed appreciation to the people of God in the East African nation, thanking them for journeying with him in prayers as he battled with  COVID-19.

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