Apostolic vicar to Istanbul in intensive care because of COVID-19

Bishop Rubén Tierrablanca González has been in critical conditions for the past week at the Koç University Hospital. After testing positive 10 days ago, his health quickly deteriorated. Almost 1,8 million people have tested positive in Turkey since the start of the pandemic with almost 16,000 deaths.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Bishop Rubén Tierrablanca González, apostolic vicar to Istanbul and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Turkey, has been placed on a ventilator in intensive care at an Istanbul hospital because of COVID-19.

According to local Catholic sources, after testing positive for the novel coronavirus about ten days ago, the Mexican-born prelate quickly found himself in critical conditions, and is now fighting for his life with the worst symptoms of the viral infection.

His health deteriorated so rapidly that he had to be taken to Koç University Hospital in Istanbul, where doctors put him on a ventilator seven days ago.

Bishop Rubén Tierrablanca González was born on 24 August 1952 in Cortazar, central Mexico. He moved to Turkey in 2003 and in 2016 became apostolic vicar to Turkey’s business capital as well as apostolic administrator of Constantinople of the Greeks. Since 2018 he has chaired the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Turkey.

In his youth he attended the Franciscan minor seminary and entered the novitiate on 22 August 1970. He made his solemn profession on 2 August 1977, followed by his priestly ordination the following year.

Since the novel coronavirus pandemic broke out Turkey, almost 1.8 million cases have been reported in the country. However, the figure could be higher because health authorities have not counted asymptomatic cases for months.

Yesterday, the death toll rose by 220, bringing the total number of COVID-19-related fatalities to 15,751.