During his Angelus address Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the coronavirus outbreak in China, which has currently claimed the lives of 56 people.

Pope Francis’ comments came during his midday Angelus address to the Faithful in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday.

Referring to the coronavirus, the Holy Father said:

“I also wish to be close and to pray for the persons sick with the virus that has spread in China. May the Lord welcome the dead into his peace, comfort families and sustain the great commitment by the Chinese community that has already been put in place to combat the epidemic.”

The coronavirus originated in the Wuhan province of China, the first case being reported to the World Health Organization nearly a month ago on December 31st. As of January 26th, there were 2,124 confirmed cases and 56 deaths across 15 different countries.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of the Diocese of Balanga in the Philippines, a country currently not affected by the coronavirus, released a special prayer for the prevention of a global epidemic.

“We pray that you control and prevent a global epidemic of coronavirus. We fervently ask that you display your power and stop the rapid spread of this deadly virus. Manifest your presence to those who have already been infected. Give them hope and courage and may your miraculous healing hands be upon them.”

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