Fringe Religious Group Linked to S. Korea Outbreak

'Patient 31' infected dozens at church services
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2020 8:16 AM CST

(Newser) – South Korea has been gripped by coronavirus fear after what officials call a "super-spreading event' in Daegu, the country's fourth-largest city. Authorities announced Thursday that another 53 cases had been detected, bringing the total to 104. At least 70 of the cases have been linked to "Patient 31," a 61-year-old woman who attended crowded church services in Daegu after developing symptoms. Residents say the streets of the city are now empty. "It's like someone dropped a bomb in the middle of the city," resident Kim Geun-woo tells Reuters. "It looks like a zombie apocalypse." South Korea reported its first coronavirus death Thursday. More:

  • A fringe religious group. "Patient 31" attended services at a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a fringe group whose founder claims to be the second coming of Jesus and says he was sent to save followers from an apocalypse, the Washington Post reports. The church, also known as the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, denies being "the main culprit of coronavirus transmissions," but says it has shut down its branch in the city. Daegu's mayor says 1,000 people who attended services with the woman have been told to self-quarantine.

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