Church Releases Additional Instructions for Missionaries, Members regarding Coronavirus
Contributed By Sydney Walker, Church News staff writer
As the spread of coronavirus intensifies, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released information Friday, February 21, regarding missionary and temple work and worship services in areas affected by the disease that experts say could become a pandemic.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to closely monitor the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on people around the world, including the ability of our missionaries to effectively find and teach, and of our members to gather for worship,” a February 21 statement reads. “We pray for all those affected by this illness and plead for the Lord’s blessings during this difficult time.”
China Hong Kong Mission
Missionaries who recently left this mission are completing their 14-day self-isolation and will soon depart for new, temporary assignments.
Two missionaries walk on a street in Hong Kong.
Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission, Singapore Mission, and Thailand Bangkok Mission
As a precaution, all missionaries serving in these missions have been instructed to remain in their apartments and avoid going outside except to purchase food and other supplies, to exercise, or to attend worship services (where held).
Missionaries will teach people through phone calls or other technology. Whenever outside, they are urged to stay at least six feet away from others and avoid any personal interaction. These guidelines will be in place until further notice.
All missionaries preparing to arrive in these three missions will be temporarily reassigned to other countries until the situation stabilizes.
Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission
Missionaries in Mongolia are taking similar precautions, but they are making limited visits to people when invited.
Missionaries in South Korea will also begin to self-isolate using recommendations from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of coronavirus cases in South Korea has quadrupled in the past two days, according to a recent AP report.
“All missionaries, regardless of where they are serving, have been reminded to follow basic preventative health practices to avoid illness. It is important to note that young missionaries are not generally considered to be at risk for serious complications from the coronavirus,” the Church’s February 21 statement said.
Three sister missionaries holding copies of the Book of Mormon pose by a sign in South Korea.
The Taipei Taiwan Temple has been closed temporarily, and the Seoul Korea Temple will temporarily close beginning Saturday, February 22. The Hong Kong China Temple is currently closed for renovation.
Gathering for Worship
Latter-day Saints in some affected areas are not gathering for weekly worship services. In other places, services are being held on a limited schedule. Local Church leaders are working to support and minister to the needs of members in these areas.
The Church will continue to follow developments closely and will make any further adjustments as needed.
More about the Coronavirus
The outbreak of coronavirus, a respiratory illness, has captured headlines around the world in recent weeks. More than 76,000 people have been infected in 27 countries, and more than 2,200 have died, according to a recent AP report.
In partnership with the charitable organization Health Oriented Preventive Education, the Church recently sent a large shipment of protective gear to China.
Project HOPE chartered two planes to transport 220,000 respiratory masks, nearly 870 pairs of protective goggles, and more than 6,500 pairs of protective coveralls from the Church’s bishops’ central storehouses in Salt Lake City and Atlanta. In all, 79 pallets of protective gear were sent to China, according to Church officials.
“These are our dear brothers and sisters,” said President Russell M. Nelson, who enjoys a decades-long association with the People’s Republic of China. “We feel privileged to be able to offer some small measure of help. We pray for them and know God will bless them.”