SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 17, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is moving all missionaries that are not native to the Philippines out of the country.
The LDS Church said in a news release Tuesday: “With a new travel directive from the Philippines government, and due to a general disruption to their ability to carry out their service, all missionaries who are not native to the Philippines are being moved out of that country. These missionaries will return to their home countries for new temporary assignments. They will begin their new assignments after completing a 14-day period of self-isolation at home as a precaution.”
A previous news release from the LDS Church stated that during the coronavirus pandemic, missionaries will continue to be called to serve and assigned to labor in missions worldwide.
“Missionary recommendations will continue to be received, and missionary assignments for worldwide service will continue to be made,” the news release said. “However, some missionaries may be reassigned, and young men serving in the United States and Canada may conclude their service three months early.”
All missionaries scheduled to enter missionary training centers in Provo, or Preston, England, will be trained remotely by video conference. Missionaries from regions where government officials are restricting activity will also be trained by video conference.
The Church is taking steps to reduce the number of missionaries in areas where the virus is of particular concern. These steps give mission presidents more flexibility to ensure missionaries are effective and safe and that there is adequate space to house missionaries if they are moved out of cities where there are greater concerns about infection.
Young missionaries with health issues and senior missionaries may be released from service. This applies to the following areas:
- 6 missions in the North America Northeast Area (as of March 16)
- 22 missions in the Europe Area (as of March 12)
Missionaries who are not native to certain locations will be returning to their home country. This applies to the following locations:
- The Philippines (as of March 17)
- Korea (as of March 5)
- Mongolia (as of Feb. 27)
Prospective missionaries preparing to serve in certain countries or who come from those countries will either postpone their start date or receive a new temporary assignment. This applies to the following locations:
- Japan (as of Feb. 25)
- Korea (as of Feb. 25)
- Cambodia (as of Feb. 20)
- Singapore (as of Feb. 20)
- Thailand (as of Feb. 20)
All missionaries have been removed from the China Hong Kong Mission.
Each missionary who returns home is asked to self-isolate for 14 days following instructions from the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Missionaries who remain in regions where COVID-19 is of particular concern are taking precautions to stay healthy, including staying in their apartments as much as possible, avoiding personal interaction with other people and teaching through phone calls or other technology, the news release said. Mission presidents are communicating with families to let them know of these precautions and keep them updated on local circumstances.