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China: 98 year-old bishop recovers from Coronavirus

Bishop Zhu

Bishop Zhu

Source: Asia News/PIME

Mgr Joseph Zhu Baoyu bishop of Nanyang in southwest China is believed to be the oldest patient to have recovered from the coronavirus. The 98-year-old pastor was diagnosed with Covid-19 pneumonia on February3. He has tested negative since 12 February and was given the all-clear on February 14.

Bishop Zhu was treated at the central hospital in Nanyang. In addition to the virus he had other diseases such as arrhythmia and pleural effusions.The hospital said he was treated with a thoracic drainage catheter. The healing of Mgr Zhu was exceptional. Doctors and epidemiologists say the coronavirus is usually fatal for older people and patients suffering from other diseases.

Fr Sergio Ticozzi, from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) who has known the bishop personally for over 50 years told AsiaNews: "The news of Mgr Giuseppe Zhu Baoyu's recovery from the coronavirus was a source of joy to me. When I met the bishop two years ago, he was in a wheelchair and lived in the convent of the diocesan nuns. At first glance he didn't recognize me but when a nun told him my name, he smiled at me and greeted me 'My old friend'. It was a moving meeting.

"I met Archbishop Zhu when he was still a simple priest in the early 1990s and I admired his physical prowess by seeing him ride a bicycle to visit the faithful, despite the sufferings passed in the years of imprisonment and re-education through labour. I saw him many other times. His predecessor, Archbishop Giuseppe Jin Dechen handed me the letter of request to have him as his auxiliary, to bring it to Rome. He was ordained bishop on March 19, 1995, the feast of his patron.

"Even as a bishop he continued his daily ministry with simplicity and humility until health forced him to retire. He paid close attention to the needs of others. I remember on my visit to Nanyang, in conversation, I expressed my intention to go from Nanyang to Zhumadian. He was interested in how I would travel there and immediately phoned a friend of his to wait for me at the bus station. I really appreciated your concern. I rejoice in his recovery and pray to the Lord to bless him and keep him healthy for a long time. "

The diocese of Nanyang (Henan), once under the care of PIME missionaries, today has about 20,000 Catholics, with about 20 priests and hundreds of nuns from the congregation of St Joseph. Despite being very old, Mgr Zhu is recognized by the government as an ordinary bishop and only a year ago Beijing recognized a coadjutor bishop for him, Mgr Pietro Jin Lugang. For the Holy See, Mgr Jin is the ordinary; Mgr Zhu is an emeritus bishop.


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