Hong Kong, Macau missionary service suspended because of coronavirus

Locals wait to buy face masks in Hong Kong on, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that it will be suspending missionary service in Hong Kong and Macau.

According to an official Church statement, 113 missionaries will be transferred out of the area due to the increasing threat of coronavirus. The missionaries will either be reassigned to other missions or, if they are near the end of their service, they will be honorably released.

Before reassignment, missionaries are to follow World Health Organization guidelines, which state that they must quarantine themselves for 14 days. If post-quarantine missionaries continue to show no signs of coronavirus, they will be allowed to return to regular missionary service.

According to Amy Gant, a mother of one of the missionaries currently serving in Hong Kong, missionaries in the area have been following strict precautionary measures to protect their health. While they have been allowed to leave their apartments to exercise or to buy food, they have otherwise been advised to remain inside. Because of these measures, it is unlikely that any of the missionaries will have been affected by coronavirus.

Gant also said that even through all the chaos, Church leaders have been well prepared and have been proactive in keeping parents notified of the situation.

The announcement stated that leaders have been following developments in Hong Kong closely and working to support the members in the area.

“The Church has a special responsibility to care for our missionaries who are serving as volunteers, but we are also working to support members, employees and other church personnel in Hong Kong and other areas where the coronavirus is a concern,” the statement said. “We sincerely pray for all those who are dealing with this virus as well as those who live in places where it is impacting their daily lives.”

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