Thousands of S. Korea church members quarantined over virus

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Thousands of members of a Protestant church linked to a coronavirus cluster in Seoul have been requested to quarantine, South Korean authorities stated Monday, as they accused the group’s firebrand conservative chief—who has reportedly examined optimistic—of obstruction.

The nation’s “trace, test and treat” method has been held up as a world mannequin in learn how to curb the virus, however it’s now battling a number of clusters linked to .

Over the weekend the capital and neighbouring Gyeonggi province—between them residence to almost half the inhabitants—banned all non secular gatherings and urged residents to keep away from pointless journey after a burst of new instances sparked fears of a significant second wave.

South Korea reported 197 new infections on Monday, taking its complete to 15,515, its fourth consecutive day of triple-digit will increase after a number of weeks with numbers typically within the 30s and 40s.

The largest present cluster is centred on the Sarang Jeil Church in Seoul, headed by Jun Kwang-hun, a controversial conservative pastor who’s a number one determine in protests towards President Moon Jae-in.

A complete of 315 instances linked to the church had been confirmed by the tip of the weekend, officers stated Monday, making it one of the most important clusters thus far, and round 3,400 members of the congregation had been requested to quarantine.

Around one in six of the church members examined thus far had been optimistic, “requiring rapid testing and isolation,” stated vice well being minister Kim Gang-lip.

But a listing of members supplied by the church was “inaccurate”, he stated, making the testing and isolation process “very difficult”.

The scenario amounted to an “early stage of a large-scale outbreak”, stated Jung Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If the outbreak is not controlled right now, the number of confirmed cases will increase exponentially, leading to collapse of the medical system and enormous economic damage,” she stated.

Turbulent priest

Sarang Jeil’s chief Jun was among the many audio system who addressed hundreds of right-wing protestors who rallied towards Moon’s centre-left authorities within the coronary heart of Seoul on the weekend, regardless of the outbreak and calls to keep away from giant gatherings.

Jun examined optimistic for the virus, Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday.

The well being and welfare ministry and the Seoul metropolis authorities have filed two separate police complaints towards Jun, accusing him of intentionally hindering efforts to include the epidemic.

He beforehand defied a Seoul rally ban to carry an anti-government protest in February, at a time the federal government was urging everybody to remain at residence as a result of of the virus, and was later detained on allegations of individually violating election legal guidelines.

The preliminary outbreak within the South was centred on the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, which is commonly condemned as a cult and was additionally accused of obstructing investigators.

A lawyer for Sarang Jeil stated the church had given authorities particulars of members going again 15 years, so many former congregants would have been included.

“This nationwide fear is a gimmick to arrest Rev. Jun Kwang-hun,” Kang Yeon-jae advised reporters on the church.

The chief of Shincheonji—to which greater than 5,000 instances had been linked—Lee Man-hee was arrested earlier this month for allegedly giving inaccurate data of gatherings and false lists of its members to well being authorities.


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© 2020 AFP

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Thousands of S. Korea church members quarantined over virus (2020, August 17)
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