The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced all nonnative missionaries in South Korea are being removed from the country due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The missionaries will return home to self-isolate before departing for new temporary mission assignments in their home countries; missionaries nearing the end of their assignments or who have chronic health problems were already sent home or were in the process.
Recently, the church made the same announcement for missionaries in Hong Kong and Mongolia.
Missionaries are currently self-isolating in their residences in seven other countries: Cambodia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand.
“All missionaries leaving the country have already been in self-isolation for some time and have avoided contact with others outside their apartments,” the church statement said.
The church also suspended all travel for business and missionary matters to and from China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea.
Several temples have been closed because of concern for the workers and patrons. On Friday, the Rome Temple and the Seattle, Washington Temple was added to that growing list. In the case of the Seattle Temple the church said it was because the governor has requested no large group gatherings.
According to the church, a large number of temple workers and patrons are from an older demographic, which has a higher susceptibility to complications from the coronavirus. These closures are in accordance with the recommendations of local public health agencies. The following temples have been temporarily closed:
• Taipei Taiwan Temple
• Seoul Korea Temple
• Fukuoka Japan Temple
• Sapporo Japan Temple
• Rome Italy Temple
(Previously closed for renovation)
• Hong Kong China Temple
• Tokyo Japan Temple
Worship services Under the direction of Area Presidencies, some regions have limited or temporarily suspended member gatherings, including Sunday worship. On Friday the Seattle, Washington area was added to the list. Due to the Governor’s request that no large gatherings be held, no stake conferences or priesthood leadership councils will be held. Smaller gatherings, such as a sacrament meeting, are continuing in some areas. Members should follow the counsel of their local priesthood leaders, according to a Friday afternoon church update.
These locations include the following:
• Hong Kong
• Seattle, Washington (Bothell Stake)
In late February the First Presidency announced that the two-day church leadership meetings prior to April’s General Conference have been postponed until October. Saints from outside the U.S. are asked to stay home and not attend conference this April as a precautionary measure against the virus.
Providing aid Since its initial donation of medical masks, goggles and gowns to China, the church has received numerous requests for similar assistance, the press release said. The church added that those requests are being evaluated and addressed, though the church’s ability to supply and deliver those products is limited by a global demand for such resources.