Seoul shuts sect churches, bans rallies to stem runaway virus

China | 21 Feb 2020 1:00 pm

As part of drastic measures to contain the new coronavirus, the Seoul city government said it will be banning rallies and closing down Shincheonji church services.

"We plan to ban use of Seoul plaza, Cheonggye plaza and Gwanghwamun plaza to protect the elderly who are susceptible to contagious diseases," Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon said in a press briefing today, referring to places where massive weekend rallies take place, Yonhap reports. "The city will notify organizations that were planning massive rallies and also consult with the Seoul police agency.''

Under a local health law, rallies in urban areas can be banned for public health. Those who breach the measure can be fined up to 3 million won (US$2,490).

The mayor also announced plans to close down Seoul churches of the minor religious sect Shincheonji Church of Jesus, The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony.

A Daegu branch of the church has emerged as a hotbed of the new coronavirus, with a majority of the country's cases assumed to be linked to the provincial church in the southeastern city.

As part of precautionary measures, the city government will temporary close down more than 3,000 social welfare facilities across the capital.

South Korea reported 52 new cases of the new coronavirus today, bringing the total number of infections in the nation to 156.


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