Pope hails ‘tireless’ work of India medics

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Pope Francis laughs during a news conference while in the air aboard the Alitalia papal plane on his flight back from Iraq, March 8, 2021. (Photo by YARA NARDI / POOL / AFP)

Pope Francis hailed Thursday the “tireless” work of medics in India and urged them to stay strong, in a message of support for the coronavirus-plagued country.

In a message to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in India, the pontiff offered his “heartfelt solidarity and spiritual closeness to all the Indian people”.

“My thoughts go above all to the sick and their families, to those who care for them, and in particular to those who are mourning the loss of their loved ones,” he said.

“I think too of the many doctors, nurses, hospital workers, ambulance drivers and those working tirelessly to respond to the immediate needs of their brothers and sisters.

“With deep appreciation, I invoke upon all of them God’s gifts of perseverance, strength and peace.”

India is battling a wave of Covid-19 infections that has seen patients die in streets outside hospitals due to shortages of beds and oxygen.

The country on Thursday reported almost 4,000 Covid-19 deaths and more than 412,000 infections — both new records — dashing hopes that the catastrophic recent surge may have been easing following several days of falling case numbers.