News Briefs & Coronavirus Updates for March 12, 2020
News reports for Your Best Pathway to Health, Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, the Galapagos Islands, the General Conference Health Ministries, the United States Congress, Washington Conference, Adventist University of the Philippines, the Trans-European Division, Loma Linda University Health, Australia, the North American Division and General Conference President Ted Wilson:
From ASI Newsletter — Your Best Pathway to Health – April 8-10, 2020, this outreach is coming to Indianapolis, Indiana. 3,000 volunteers are needed, including dentists, ophthalmologists, surgeons and non-medical volunteers. Click here for more information.
Rio Lindo Adventist Academy’s varsity girls basketball team won the Small School Basketball League (SSBL) Tournament in California. Despite missing two of their starters at the game, the team rallied together, becoming the first girls’ team in the history of the Adventist secondary school to win both their league and the SSBL Tournament in the same year. What makes the school even more proud? The coach of the team who lost to Rio emailed their athletic director to let him know that their team was glad that out of all the teams involved, a team with great sportsmanship like Rio were the winners. “We hear these compliments all the time for our sports teams and we are proud of our student athletes who continue to be a great example of Christ wherever they go,” the school leaders shared.
From Adventist News Network (ANN) – The Adventist denomination has opened the Origins Nature Museum in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands. Government officials, academics and representatives of the denomination’s General Conference participated in the opening ceremonies. The museum is equipped with touch-screen TVs and virtual reality headsets to give visitors an interactive experience with fossils and tanks of giant turtles, etc. In addition to the exhibition hall, two rooms for scientific research are provided. Upstairs are the premises of the local Adventist church, and a 12-grade Adventist school adjoins. The director of the Charles Darwin Research Station, which advocates for conservation and biodiversity in the Galapagos Islands, praised the museum for the promotion of environmental protection at the inauguration. The Galapagos Islands are part of the nation of Ecuador and have about 12,000 inhabitants, of whom 250 are Adventists. The school has 270 pupils.
Due to the increasing spread of the coronavirus, the Adventist denomination’s leadership and its affiliated agencies are working closely together to respond. The head of the health department, Dr. Peter Landless, issued guidelines for denominational units last week. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is working with partner networks in China, Asia and internationally, especially in the procurement of respirators. In addition to reviewing the procedures for controlling the pandemic, which are being implemented in many nations, Landless said, “The transmission occurs through the spread of droplets when infected people cough or sneeze and get these droplets access to the body through the respiratory system. Symptoms include fever, cough, muscle aches, shortness of breath and fatigue; some patients may have diarrhea, others very mild to no symptoms at all.” He encouraged church leaders to calm the urge to make statements that generate fear and panic.
Raul Ruiz, one of only two members of the United States Congress who are Adventists, also happens to be a physician. He played a key role in the emergency Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act voted week. He delivered a short message on behalf of Congress via online video about how the voted plan will help protect Americans. It was also voted by the Senate and signed by the president in short order.
Washington state has had more coronavirus cases than any other state in the country. Click here for a statement regarding coronavirus matters from the Washington Conference of the Adventist denomination.
Adventist University of the Philippines has reacted to the COVID-19 outbreak by announcing a school lockdown from March 10-14, 2020. The school is not allowing students to enter or exit the campus. On-campus students are allowed to go home if their parents come to the gate of the school. Visitors are not allowed to enter the school.
From Trans-European Division (TED) NEWS:
EVENTS IN EUROPE CANCELLED OVER CORONAVIRUS
Over the past 6 weeks, Coronavirus or COVID-19 has spread from China around the globe. The World Health Organization (WHO) has now declared it to be a pandemic. As Christians, we have a responsibility to care for others and each other, creating safe working and meeting environments. We need to be involved as part of the solution rather than potentially becoming part of the problem. Reviewing the latest developments and the advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UK National Health Service (NHS) and Public Health England, the Trans-European Division Administrative Committee took action this morning, Thursday 12 March, to cancel all major TED events between now and the General Conference Session, which starts on 25 June 2020 in Indianapolis, USA. This includes:
Global Youth Day (TED participation cancelled) – 21 March
Family Life Training – 14-19 April, Spain
GAiN Europe – 24-28 April, Romania
Hope Channel Leadership – 28-30 April, Romania
Pathfinder and Bible Experience (PBE) – 25 April, the Netherlands
Ellen G. White Symposium – 1-3 May, United Kingdom
Master Guide Camp – 4-7 June, Estonia
Information on future developments and possibilities for rescheduling events for a later date will be uploaded on the TED website in due course.
Elsewhere in our Division precautions and government advice are equally affecting other parts of our Division. For instance:
Greece, Norway, and Denmark have currently all closed their churches or worship spaces.
In Hungary, all churches with over 100 attendees have been shut and members over age 60 or with chronic diseases are advised not to attend meetings. This is based on a government request. Currently all union programmes are cancelled, including all international and domestic travel.
In the UK Stanborough Secondary School has been closed following National Health Service advice. This is due to an adult who is close to the school is being treated for ‘suspected coronavirus’.
Newbold College of Higher Education is fully open with daily reviews with the management committee and strong guidelines for staff and students, including restrictions on international travel. Staff have had to withdraw from a number of events across Europe, and the spread of the coronavirus has also impacted on a number of visits, international student programmes, and other events being run at the college such as the British Union Conference final for the Pathfinder Bible Experience. The College website is being regularly updated with the latest advice.
Loma Linda University has canceled all major events on campus until April 30 or until further notice. Loma Linda University Health sponsored a Facebook Live event on February 25 titled Dispelling Myths: What We Know About Coronavirus.
The Adventist Church in North New South Wales and Western Australia has canceled Big Camp 2020 in light of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, North New South Wales has canceled its Grey Nomads Camp.
From a North American Division (NAD) news report: The NAD administration is restricting international travel for its employees at this time. No one is authorized to travel to countries that have been placed on any travel bans or travel restrictions (level 3 and higher) by the U.S. government and federal health authorities. It is recommended that persons visit the U.S. Department of State website’s travel advisory page for a list of countries under travel advisory.
General Conference President Ted Wilson has spoken to what might happen to the June 25–July 4 General Conference Session bearing in mind the COVID-19 situation:
“We will share with you at SM [spring meeting] what possible alternative plans may be recommended. Let’s pray that none of that will be needed. God is in control. We certainly do not want to cause any unnecessary alarm or concern but felt it was necessary to issue a call to prayer and a statement indicating that at this time the plans for the General Conference Session in Indianapolis are as have been planned. … We place this in God’s hands.”