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Shincheonji founder to be tested for coronavirus

All News 13:34 March 01, 2020

SEOUL, March 1 (Yonhap) -- The founder of a minor Christian sect at the center of a rapid rise in coronavirus cases in South Korea will be tested for the disease Sunday, an official with the group said.

Lee Man-hee, founder of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, is in talks with a local public health center over scheduling of his test, according to the official.

Shincheonji has said Lee has been in self-quarantine at his home in Gyeonggi Province, near Seoul.

South Korean health authorities believe more than half of the country's virus cases are linked to Shincheonji. They've begun testing some 190,000 members of the home-grown religious sect, and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is expected to jump as those results come in.

In a statement addressed to South Korea's political leaders Sunday, Shincheonji asked them to stop portraying the sect as a criminal organization.

"We're working with regional authorities the best we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19," the statement said. "We'd like to ask for your help so that we'll continue to remain cooperative in these efforts."

South Korea reported 376 additional cases of the new coronavirus Sunday morning, bringing the total number of infections here to 3,526.

This photo captured from the website of Shincheonji Church of Jesus shows the religious sect's founder, Lee Man-hee. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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