How We Are Responding to Covid-19
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
March 20, 2020
At Servant Partners, our desire and the core of our mission is to walk with and serve those in vulnerable situations. In any disaster, those on the margins are the first to experience the full impact, and this is already proving true with the spread of this novel coronavirus. The elderly and immunocompromised are particularly susceptible, and those already facing financial hardship will likely experience continued difficulty accessing the resources they need.
Servant Partners has created a Covid-19 Emergency Response Team that will meet weekly to address what is likely going to be an ever-changing reality. The team will work to respond to three distinct aspects of our ministry: SP's internal response to its staff, our various sites' response to those we serve, and SP's response to our donors.
To learn more about our organizational response, click the button below.
Covid-19 In Thailand
As of March 20, Thailand has a total of 272 confirmed cases of Covid-19, the majority of those in Bangkok. Thailand is still considered to be at a stage 2 of the spread of the virus, meaning that those who have confirmed cases are those who can trace the source of their infection to someone who has a travel history. However, the last 5 days have seen a significant and rapid increase in those testing positive for the disease and we are preparing for stage 3, or widespread local transmission of the virus.
What This Means for Friends of the City
Friends of the City can continue its work in the inner city of Bangkok. However, in compliance with expert advice, myself and any volunteers/partners I work with are taking steps to protect ourselves and our neighbors. We are vigilant to stay on top of a rapidly changing situation and to heed to the policies and recommendations given by he Ministry of Public Health in Thailand and the global medical community. Specifically, we are limiting our movement throughout the city, wearing surgical masks, avoiding large gatherings, and practicing frequent hand-washing.
Friends of the City currently has 8 students studying in the Santisuk English School scholarship program. In compliance with government restrictions, the Santisuk English School has closed its building for two weeks. The situation will be reassessed at the end of two weeks and it is our hope that all of our students will be able to continue their classroom studies at that time. All monies given to support the scholarship program will still be held for tuition for our scholarship students.
At this time, there has been no decision or recommendation from the Ministry of Public Health that would hinder our work in the community. Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, I have spoken with community leaders to assess the situation and make decisions about the continuation of educational programs in the community. As of today (March 20, 2020), all ongoing activities will continue unhindered. However, volunteers that must travel using public transportation will be unable to attend at this time. Special summer programs that were scheduled to begin in March have been postponed.
Storytelling, discipleship groups and partnership development remain somewhat dormant right now. As I, and those I partner with, voluntarily limit our movement throughout the city, many things will be "paused" until the situation changes. We are taking advantage of social media, phone calls, and other avenues to encourage one another and continue to seek the shalom of our city together during this time.
As Christians, we know that nothing falls outside of God's control. He is neither limited nor surprised by recent events. And while we are challenged to seek new ways to love our neighbor as ourselves, this crisis brings new opportunities to see God's goodness and sovereignty in our lives, and the lives of those around us. Let us take this extra time in semi-isolation to feed our faith and not miss those opportunities to feed the faith of others. Be safe and loving, Suzy
March 27, 2020
As in many other countries, the situation in Thailand is changing rapidly. Friends of the City is working hard to stay on top of the latest policies and recommendations put forth by the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand, as well as maintain communication with community leaders and district offices.
As of March 27, there are no cases of Covid-19 in any of the residents that live within our district. We are grateful for that. However, the number of cases has increased to over 1,000 people nation-wide, about half of which are located within Bangkok. Most public places have been ordered to shut down and the government at every level is now urging all residents of Bangkok to stay home and only go out when needed for the next 7 days. I believe it is similar to "shelter in place" that is occurring right now in the USA.
As such, we have suspended even our community-based activities for at least the next 7 days. We will continue to monitor the situation and take every opportunity to love our neighbor as ourself from a safe distance. You can follow us on social media to get more frequent updates on the situation and our activities during this time.
At times like these, we can throw in the towel in hopelessness or look for the ways God is inviting us to do things differently. We are already seeking ways to be involved in the economic recovery process and exploring alternative medias for storytelling and discipleship. Pray along with us for God's healing for the sick, God's comfort for their families, God's protection on those who are healthy, and for hearts to turn to Jesus, our Rock, in such uncertain times.