SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Feb. 27, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Thursday detailed safety measures it is taking during the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.
“The Church has been carefully monitoring these developments and is taking steps in several areas to provide assistance, help missionaries be safe and effective, address concerns regarding member safety and plan for upcoming events,” said a news release from the LDS Church.
“These steps are being taken to comply with best practices or direction provided by the public health organizations of various national governments.”
The Church is taking steps to reduce the number of missionaries in areas where the virus is of particular concern. These steps will 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.
These steps apply to the following missions:
- Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission
- Japan Fukuoka Mission
- Japan Kobe Mission
- Japan Nagoya Mission
- Japan Sapporo Mission
- Japan Tokyo North Mission
- Japan Tokyo South Mission
- Korea Busan Mission
- Korea Seoul Mission
- Korea Seoul South Mission
- Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission
- Singapore Mission
- Thailand Bangkok Mission
Cambodia, Korea, Singapore, Thailand: All prospective missionaries preparing to serve in these missions or who come from those countries will either postpone their start date or receive a temporary assignment. Additionally, all missionaries currently serving in these missions who are nearing the end of their service will return home early. All senior missionaries and any young missionaries with chronic health problems will also return home or be temporarily reassigned to a mission in their home countries. Some senior missionaries will continue to support the mission remotely.
Japan: All missionaries preparing to serve in Japan will either postpone their start date or receive new temporary assignments.
Mongolia: All missionaries who are not native to Mongolia will be temporarily transferred from that country. Those who are nearing their scheduled release date will return home early, while the rest will receive new temporary assignments.
Each missionary who returns home will be 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 those countries will take 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. “All missionaries, regardless of where they are serving, have been reminded to follow basic preventative health practices to avoid illness. It is important to note that young missionaries are not generally considered to be at risk for serious complications from the coronavirus.”
Several temples have been closed because of concern for the workers and patrons. 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
(Previously closed for renovation)
- Hong Kong China Temple
- Tokyo Japan Temple
Under the direction of Area Presidencies, some regions have limited or temporarily suspended member gatherings, including Sunday worship. These locations include the following:
- Hong Kong
This has included shortened Sunday worship in some areas (sacrament meeting only) or canceling of worship services in others. In circumstances where members are unable to gather for worship, they learn, teach and partake of the sacrament as families, as guided by local priesthood leaders.
In a recent announcement to all Church members, the First Presidency has provided new guidelines for participation in General Conference.
Since its initial donation of medical masks, goggles and gowns to China, the Church has received numerous requests for similar assistance. Those requests are being evaluated and addressed as the Church is able to do so, although its ability to supply and deliver those products is limited by a global demand for such resources.