- COVID-19 is being blamed in South Korea on a little-known group led by a preacher who heals people by poking them in the eyes.
- According to the official, many of the attendees were elderly people in their 60s and older who had not been vaccinated.
A COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea is being blamed on a little-known sect run by a preacher who heals people by poking them in the eyes, which reported a new daily high of 4,116 cases on Tuesday and is battling a surge in serious cases that is putting hospitals under strain.
On Wednesday, a municipal official told Reuters that at least 241 people linked to the religious group had tested positive for coronavirus in a small rural church in a hamlet of 427 people in Cheonan city, south of Seoul.
According to the official, many of the attendees were elderly people in their 60s and older who had not been vaccinated. Only 17 of the 241 confirmed cases had been given the vaccine.
“I believe the church’s anti-government sentiments prevented believers from receiving the vaccine,” the official said, adding that the community had been put on lockdown.
The chapel was opened in the early 1990s and has subsequently grown to include its communal living facilities.
Although the faith is not officially recognized as a sect, the ritual act performed by the pastor is known as the “imposition of hands-on eyes,” a method of poking two eyeballs to remove secular desire, according to Jung youn-seok, the head of the cult information resources think tank.
“This is a very hazardous and unbiblical behavior. It’s an unequivocal ban in Korean Christianity,” Jung said, adding that the pastor’s mother was a powerful woman who was expelled from the Christian community in the 1990s for performing the same ceremonies.
Reuters’ calls to the church went unanswered.
Although the epidemic is a small part of the overall national total, it is an example of a cluster with a high number of cases.
Shincheonji was the epicenter of the first significant coronavirus outbreak outside of China in early 2020, with at least 5,227 of its 310,000 followers afflicted after attending a service in Daegu.
Source: Global News
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