SALT LAKE CITY — Most of the Latter-day Saint missionaries in Africa will go home to self-isolate for two weeks and then receive temporary reassignment to other missions around the world, according to a release issued Wednesday evening.
Church leaders reached the decision due to the COVID-19 pandemic and new travel regulations implemented by African governments.
The move affects nonnative missionaries in 26 of the 34 missions in Africa operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church did not say how many missionaries would be moved.
“They will receive new temporary assignments in their home countries based on capacity and need,” the release stated. “Missionaries from Africa will travel directly to their new assignments in their home countries. Any missionaries who are unable to return home due to travel restrictions will continue serving in their current mission.”
Church leaders took the same action Tuesday with 23 missions in the Philippines. They also sent home all nonnative missionaries from Mongolia on Feb. 27 and from South Korea on March 5.
The church shut down its Hong Kong Mission in early February.
The eight African missions not affected by the decision are Angola Luanda; Botswana/Namibia; Kenya Nairobi; South Africa Cape Town; South Africa Durban; South Africa Johannesburg; Uganda Kampala; and Zambia Lusaka.
“Church leaders continue to closely monitor conditions related to the outbreak of COVID-19 and will make further adjustments as needed,” the statement said. “We love our missionaries and express appreciation for their devoted service.”