The COVID-19 Outbreak in South Korea has been mainly attributed to a minority religious group. As differing stories of the group’s involvement in the outbreak surface, a White Paper written by religion and legal experts reveals the facts.
GWACHEON, KOREA, August 01, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, has swept the globe, causing rapid and severe damage to the economy, communities, families and individuals who have been affected by the virus. Although it has spread to almost every country on the globe as of July 2020, one of the countries affected first and most severely by COVID-19 was South Korea.
Beginning in mid-February 2020, the South Korean COVID-19 outbreak was mainly attributed to a religious group called Shincheonji by the Korean press. Shincheonji Church of Jesus is a minority religious group headquartered in South Korea and has a negative reputation with many Koreans mainly because of its “covert” evangelism methods.
On February 18, 5 days after the South Korean President assured citizens it was safe to carry out their normal activities, “Patient 31”, a member of Shincheonji, was confirmed COVID-19 positive. The member had attended a worship service at Shincheonji church in Daegu several days before and had unknowingly spread the virus to other members of the church, who were tested after realizing they had been exposed.
In the following days and weeks, many news articles were posted and circulated worldwide, referring to Shincheonji church members as “super-spreaders” of the virus. Many accusations were placed against the church, its leadership, and its members.
Differing stories and opinions on the cause of the South Korean COVID-19 outbreak and Shincheonji’s involvement in it has caused confusion. Thus, religion experts, legal experts, and journalists created a White Paper to distinguish the Facts from Fiction on Shincheonji’s involvement in COVID-19 in South Korea. It explains the background of Shincheonji, the cause of the outbreak in Shincheonji church, and truth of the accusations against the church. The White Paper can be found here.
Other recent reports about Shincheonji church include a plasma donation drive, in which 4,000 COVID-19-recovered church members pledged to donate their plasma in response to a request from the Korean Centers for Disease Control. Officials at Korea’s Green Cross have commented that this donation campaign is “invaluable” in the development of a cure for COVID-19 and its donations are already being used in clinical trials. More information regarding the plasma donation can be found here.
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