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Every good hours means so much: Northern Ireland pastor struck by Covid-19 continues to improve

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Treatment: Mark McClurg

Treatment: Mark McClurg

Treatment: Mark McClurg

An evangelical pastor who was left fighting for life in hospital after being diagnosed with coronavirus continues to make progress with his church saying he is on a "long road to recovery, but every good hour means so much".

Pastor Mark McClurg of Newtownards Elim Church was in intensive care in the Ulster Hospital after testing positive for the virus last week.

First Minister Arlene Foster raised the matter in the Monday Executive press conference and how she had been in touch with his partner.

She said as he was 40, with no underlying health condition it demonstrated how "no one was invincible".

Update on Pastor Mark from Claire this morning. ‘Mark had a good rest over night and was on oxygen mask this morning....

Posted by Ards Elim Church on Monday, March 23, 2020

On Sunday evening his church said his condition was improving and in a further update on Monday morning said he had made further progress.

"Mark had a good rest over night and was on oxygen mask this morning. At this stage there is no more word of ventilation being used which is a good sign," Ards Elim said in a Facebook post.

"He is a bit brighter this morning and hopefully will get some tea and toast as a result of feeling a bit better.

"It will be a very long road to recovery but every good hour means so much at this stage.

"Thank you all for your continued prayers and support."

Two people in Northern Ireland have died from the virus, and 148 people of those tested found to have the disease. As too did other churches in the area.

On Sunday Bangor Elim Church called on its congregation to pray for Pastor McClurg's speedy recovery.

"Please pray for (his partner) Claire and the children who are also self-isolating at this time, also his brother Sam and all the family," a church spokesperson said.

"Obviously, visiting by anyone including family is not permitted, and this in itself is incredibly distressing for everyone closest to Mark."

Scores of people welcomed the news of Pastor McClurg's improving condition.

Margaret Skimin said: "Some good news praise god keep Mark and family in my prayers."

Amanda Mclean added: "Although I don't know Mark, he and his family are in my prayers. So lovely to hear something good."

Meanwhile a second pastor, Lee McClelland of Ark Church on Belfast's Cliftonpark Avenue, remains in intensive care after testing positive for the disease.

On Monday evening the church provided an update on the pastor.

It said: "First of all can I say that we as a family want to thank you for all your prayers and messages of love and support. Thanks especially to our church family at the Ark church.

"Pastor Lee is still in hospital in the critical care isolation unit. He remains ill but is receiving the best care possible. I will try to keep everyone updated as much as I can so thank you all again and keep praying for him and us as a family. God is good and he is faithful so in the words of Pastor Lee Keep going! Bless you all."

Belfast Telegraph