A religious group in the South Korean city of Cheonan, where a pastor “heal” people by pricking them in their eyes, is at the center of a major outbreak of the coronavirus.
At least 241 people in the group have tested positive for covid-19.
In the whole city live 427 inhabitants.
Small town of Chunan, south of South Korea capital flood, has been closed.
This is after more than half of the population contracted the coronavirus.
The common denominator of the 241 people is that they all belong to a Christian religious group, in which the priest performs unusual rituals.
It’s called “laying on of hands” and involves the priest poking both of a person’s eyes to get the person completely out of “lay lust,” says the group leader for Reuters news agency.
The Korea Infection Control Authority wrote in a statement that the outbreak is considered significant.
The majority were unprotected
The majority of members are in their 60s or older, and 90 percent of them are not immune. They also have close contact because they live collectively.
Only 17 of the 241 infected people were said to have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I think it was the church’s anti-government views that drove its members to drop the vaccine,” a city employee told Reuters.
This is not the first time that a religious group in South Korea has been held responsible for the outbreak.
Christian communities have been repeatedly investigated for spreading COVID-19. A ban on religious gatherings was imposed in 2020 in Seoul and the neighboring province after a cult-like movement caused a major outbreak.
Living with COVID-19
In November, South Korea launched its plan to live with covid-19, thus lifting many restrictions, while increasing vaccination rates.
At the same time, infection rates rose. On Tuesday, it recorded the largest number of cases since the beginning of the epidemic.
Prime Minister Kim Bo-kyeom said at a meeting yesterday that the situation is so critical in parts of Seoul only that a state of emergency may need to be imposed.
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