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Seoul city to ban rallies, Shincheonji church services to curb virus

All News 10:51 February 21, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- As part of drastic measures to curb the sprawling new coronavirus, the Seoul city government on Friday said it will be banning rallies and closing down Shincheonji church services.

"We plan to ban use of Seoul plaza, Cheonggye plaza and Gwanghwamun plaza to protect the elderly who are susceptible to contagious diseases," Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said in a press briefing Friday, referring to places where massive weekend rallies take place.

"The city will notify organizations that were planning massive rallies and also consult with the Seoul police agency," Park said.

Under a local health law, rallies in urban areas can be banned for public health. Those who breach the measure can be fined up to 3 million won (US$2,490).

Health officials disinfect a public bus terminal in eastern Seoul on Feb. 20, 2020. (Yonhap)

The city mayor also announced plans to close down Seoul churches of the minor religious sect Shincheonji Church of Jesus, The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony.

A Daegu branch of the church has emerged as a hotbed of COVID-19, with a majority of the country's cases assumed to be linked to the provincial church in the southeastern city.

As part of precautionary measures, the city government will temporary close down more than 3,000 social welfare facilities across the capital.

South Korea reported 52 new cases of the new coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total number of infections in the nation to 156.


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