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South Korea to test more than 200,000 church members for coronavirus

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11:31 | 26/02/2020

South Korean health officials are seeking to test more than 200,000 members of a popular church for signs of a novel form of coronavirus after a surge of cases in the country.    

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Photo: Getty Image

Reuters reported that South Korean authorities are planning to test as many members of the estimated 215,000-member-strong congregation of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus for coronavirus after revealing that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of cases reported in the country are linked to members of the church.

In particular, members of the church are thought to have contracted the disease from one 61-year-old member of the church, though it's unclear how the woman contracted the virus originally.

“It is essential to test all of the church members,” South Korean officials told Reuters in a statement. Authorities are testing about 13,000 South Korean citizens per day.

Health officials announced Tuesday that South Korea had marked its 10th death from the virus, with President Moon Jae-in calling the threat of the virus "very grave."

The outbreak of coronavirus is thought to have begun at a live animal market in China's city of Wuhan, and China has since seen tens of thousands of cases reported throughout the country with more than 2,000 deaths linked to the disease.

Officials in numerous countries have issued travel warnings for China and other affected countries, and have implemented screenings for passengers arriving at major airports from the region./.

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