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Coronavirus: Church asks members to follow WHO, CDC health recommendations

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is asking members around the world to follow the World Health Organization’s recommendations on coronavirus.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is asking members around the world to follow the World Health Organization’s recommendations on coronavirus.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The leaders of the Kuala Lumpur Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made sure there was plenty of hand sanitizer available during church meetings on Sunday to help Malaysian members prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The church’s international leaders updated a statement about that coronavirus late Tuesday afternoon, asking members around the world to follow the health recommendations of the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

COVID-19 has killed nine people in the United States, according to The New York Times. The virus has caused the deaths of 3,168 people worldwide and infections have been found in 80 countries, according to Worldometer.

“As our members around the world meet and interact with one another, we ask them to be mindful of current circumstances and to be considerate of their health and that of others,” the updated statement said. “Those who live in areas where there is significant spread of COVID-19 should follow the guidance offered by the public health agencies in their region.”

The statement encouraged members to comply with those guidelines under direction from their area presidency.

The church listed the following precautions that members should take:

  • Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick (this may include avoiding shaking hands or other customary greetings).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Maintain at least three feet (one meter) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow public health agency recommendations for using a face mask.

The church has worked with governments around the world to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It has limited or suspended church meetings in 15 countries. It has curbed missionaries activities and stopped sending new missionaries to 10 countries. The church also has closed temples in four countries.

Church services have not been held for five weeks in Hong Kong. Some congregations are holding Sunday worship services known as sacrament meeting or Sunday School, priesthood, Relief Society or ward councils meetings by telephone conference call, Zoom video conferencing, WhatsApp or Facebook messaging or YouTube, the Deseret News reported.

The church temporarily closed its China Hong Kong Mission in early February. Last week it announced it limited the movements of its missionaries in Cambodia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Malaysia. New missionaries assigned to those countries are being reassigned temporarily.

It closed its temples in Korea, Taiwan and Japan. The Hong Kong Temple closed for renovation last summer.

Read the CDC summary on COVID-19 here.