0223 Statement of Shincheonji Church of Jesus Regarding the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Statement of Shincheonji Church of Jesus Regarding
the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
23 February 2020
Respected citizens of Korea,
We at Shincheonji Church of Jesus (Shincheonji) find it deeply regrettable that Korean citizens including those who attend Shincheonji have been infected with the novel coronavirus infectious disease (COVID-19), which has caused many to be concerned. Shincheonji is cooperating to the fullest extent with the Korean public health authorities for the prevention of the virus spreading.
It has been announced to all the 245,000 members of Shincheonji including 9,294 of Daegu Church and 201, who visited the Daegu Church, to limit outdoor activities.
On the evening of the day the 31st case was confirmed (18 February), Shincheonji provided to the city of Daegu the list of those who joined the service at the very location the confirmed patient took part in. At 6 a.m. the next day (19th), the final list was handed over to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). As the number of confirmed cases increased, the KCDC requested on the evening of 19 February the full list of the congregation members of the Daegu Church, and Shincheonji responded by providing the list on the following day (20th).
Currently, 9,294 members of the Daegu Church have completed going into self-quarantine, and they are going through COVID-19 check-up. Since 18 February, church-related activities of the members including meetings, worship services, evangelizing, etc. have been halted and Shincheonji is checking for those who exhibit symptoms of the virus daily. In doing so, it is closely communicating with the KCDC.
In addition, on 18 February, when the first case from Daegu Church was confirmed, 1,100 of church and affiliated buildings across the nation were ordered to shut down and they have completed disinfection by 21st. On 22nd, the status of the disinfection was released to the public and it has been shared with the KCDC along with the addresses of all the church buildings and annexes. This information is open to the public at the Shincheonji’s official homepage.
Furthermore, upon identifying the 201 congregation members who visited the Daegu Church between the end of January to 18 February, they were instructed to quarantine themselves promptly and to contact public health facilities. The list of these members has been handed over to the KCDC and relevant local governments such as those of Seoul and Gyeonggi province.
According to the data released from the KCDC as of 9 a.m. today (23 February), out of 556 confirmed patients, 309 are related to Shincheonji. To minimize the virus spreading throughout the local community, Shincheonji is checking the symptoms of the entire congregation of Daegu Church and the 201 visitors to the church while relaying the information to the KCDC for close cooperation.
In the case of 670 members of Daegu Church who could not be reached, Shincheonji is pouring in efforts to reach them together with public health authorities, out of which 387 have been instructed to be tested for infection. All possible measures are being implemented to contact the rest of the 283 who could not be reached due to not having attended the church for a long time.
Shincheonji Church of Jesus is exerting its utmost efforts to prevent further proliferation of the COVID-19 while actively cooperating with the South Korean government and public health authorities. Since early January, the Headquarters of Shincheonji has instructed 74 churches nationwide a total of four times via official notices to restrict entry into church buildings of those who recently traveled to China, had contact with such visitors or displayed symptoms of cold such as fever and coughing for the protection of the congregation. Since 18 February, all meetings have been prohibited.
As Shincheonji understands and shares the citizens’ deep concern and anxiety over the novel coronavirus, it has been struggling to address COVID-19 spreading. However, we cannot help but regret that some media outlets are intentionally abusing the opportunity to slander against Shincheonji by broadcasting as if Shincheonji is purposely covering up the situation.
Shincheonji is maintaining close communication with public health authorities and is going all-out on stemming the outbreak as soon as possible. We ask those broadcasting speculative stories or covering groundless contents on Shincheonji with ill intent to stop.
In order to expedite the process of bringing an end to the outbreak, Shincheonji has handed over the full list of members of Daegu Church to public health authorities. However, the list has been leaked, making members of Shincheonji become the target of undue injustices such as forced leave of absence, discrimination, insults, and even oppression to quit their jobs within the local community.
Those who attend Shincheonji are also citizens of the Republic of Korea, who carried out their daily lives trusting the measures of the quarantine authorities to fight against COVID-19. They are the very victims of COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a virus that started in China and spread to Korea. We ask everyone to acknowledge that Shincheonji members are one of the biggest victims of COVID-19, bearing the brunt of the virus spreading. We sincerely ask everyone to cease the groundless slandering and hatred targeted against the members of Shincheonji.
The situation at hand is something we should overcome through the concerted efforts of the government and all citizens including those who are a part of Shincheonji. We promise, once again, to stay fully committed to doing all that we can so that the outbreak can come to an end as soon as possible. Also, we ask members of Shincheonji again to be fully cooperative with the authorities.
We sincerely hope for the outbreak to end swiftly and full recovery of the confirmed patients.
23rd of February, 2020
Shincheonji Church of Jesus