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Seoul city to ban rallies, Shincheonji church services to curb virus



As part of drastic measures to fight the spread of coronavirus, the Seoul city government, on Friday, said it would ban rallies at three major public squares in the city centre and close down Shincheonji Churches in the capital.

According to Seoul Mayor, Park Won-soon, we plan to ban the use of Seoul plaza, Cheonggye Plaza and Gwanghwamun plaza to protect the elderly who are susceptible to contagious diseases.

Won-soon said the decision was based on a local health law that allowed banning rallies or key events for public health reasons.

However, those who breached the measure could be fined up to three million won ($2,490).

“The right to rally is protected under the Constitution.

“We cannot block that.

“But we are focusing on the fact that a lot of senior citizens have been attending the recent Gwanghwamun rallies and we are banning it for public health and safety,’’ Won-soon said.

The city mayor also announced plans to close down Seoul churches of the minor religious sect, Shincheonji Church of Jesus, The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony.

A Daegu branch of the church has emerged as a hotbed of COVID-19, with a majority of the country’s cases assumed to be linked to the church in the South-Eastern city.

Won-soon said patients linked to Shincheonji might also emerge in Seoul, adding that Seoul was no longer a safe zone.

“In a pre-emptive measure to block community spread, we thought there is a need to take action over Shincheonji church services and gatherings.

“Under the move, the city plans to close down church offices in the Seoul wards of Yeongdeungpo, Seodaemun, Nowon and Gangseo.

“As part of precautionary measures, the city government will temporarily close down more than 3,000 social welfare facilities across the capital,’’ he said.

South Korea reported 100 new cases of the new coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 204.

According to the city government and health authorities, out of the 204 cases, 20 cases were confirmed in Seoul.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Abdulfatah Babatunde

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Yahaya Isah: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]

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April 2020