A South Korean church has been struck down with coronavirus after 46 members including the pastor and his wife were infected with the virus.
According to local reports, they were infected after an official failed to wipe a saltwater spray bottle they sprayed inside their mouths as they thought it would help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Surveillance footage from the River of Grace Community Church in Gyeonggi Province, south of Seoul, shows a church official sticking the spray bottle deep into the mouth of one follower after another, during a prayer gathering attended by ‘100 followers’ on March 1 and March 8.
“It’s been confirmed that they put the nozzle of the spray bottle inside the mouth of a follower who was later confirmed as a patient, before they did likewise for other followers as well, without disinfecting the sprayer,” said Lee Hee-young, co-chief of the Gyeonggi Province COVID-19 Emergency Response team,
“This made it inevitable for the virus to spread,” he said. “They did so out of the false belief that saltwater kills the virus.”
The church has since been closed and all its believers who attended the prayer sessions are being tested.
The church’s pastor, identified as Kim, has apologized for the mass infection of his church members.
“I feel deeply sorry about what has happened. I will take all the blame and responsibility,” Kim told Yonhap News Agency, indicating his intention to retire after the ongoing crisis is over.
This comes a month after more than half of 4,000 coronavirus cases in South Korea was linked to Shincheonji cult, a secretive church
South Korea’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported 74 new cases on Monday, bringing its total tally to 8,236.