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Church groups call for suspension of summer events amid pandemic

All News 15:06 July 02, 2020

SEOUL, July 2 (Yonhap) -- Two major Protestant church groups in South Korea on Thursday urged churches to suspend and scale down summer events amid growing concerns over coronavirus cluster infections linked to religious gatherings.

More than 60 new virus cases related to churches have been confirmed in Seoul and two nearby cities of Anyang and Suwon as of Thursday, according to health authorities.

"We request churches consider canceling, downsizing or postponing all summer events, including bible schools, camps and revival meetings at prayer houses, at the planning stage," the United Christian Churches of Korea and the National Council of Churches in Korea said in a joint news conference in Seoul.

The two organizations represent about 95 percent of Protestants in the country.

Leaders of the United Christian Churches of Korea and the National Council of Churches in Korea hold a news conference in Seoul on July 2, 2020, to urge all churches to suspend summer events to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. (Yonhap)

"Scores of new confirmed cases are still emerging everyday while infections are spreading from a few churches," they said. "We should pay attention to the fact that infections have arisen from small gatherings of believers, rather than Sunday services."

The groups pleaded with churches to implement strict social distancing measures during worship services including visitor registration, disinfection, temperature checks, wearing masks and sitting apart.

In case summer events are inevitably held, the groups recommended their organizers have participants spend minimum time together and refrain from providing meals and lodging.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said as of Thursday that 33 cases have been traced to Wangsung Church in southwest Seoul, 23 cases to Jesus Younggwang Church in Anyang, 25 kilometers south of Seoul, and nine cases to a church gathering in Suwon, 45 kilometers south of Seoul.

Members of the choir of Sarang Church in southern Seoul chant while wearing masks during a service on June 28, 2020. (Yonhap)

nyway@yna.co.kr
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