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Coronavirus prompts church to transfer 113 missionaries out of Hong Kong mission

By Lauren Bennett, KSL.com | Updated - Feb. 4, 2020 at 8:12 p.m. | Posted - Feb. 4, 2020 at 7:55 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will transfer 113 missionaries out of the China Hong Kong Mission due to the coronavirus, it announced on Tuesday.

The quick-spreading disease has made missionary work in the country difficult, according to a statement from the church.

Most missionaries will be sent home to self-isolate themselves for two weeks, as is advised by the World Health Organization, before being reassigned. The measure is “out of an abundance of caution,” church officials said.

Missionaries nearing the end of their mission will be honorably released early, officials said.

Some will have to be quarantined at a government facility, depending on the missionary’s home country. Further information has been sent to impacted families.

After 14 days, if missionaries show no signs of the virus, they will leave for their new temporary mission assignments, church officials said in the statement.

In addition to the 113 transferred missionaries, 12 from Hong Kong will be released from their missions to spend time at their homes “until the situation has stabilized,” the statement read.

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Missionaries must show zero symptoms of coronavirus before they are cleared to leave Hong Kong.

The transfers will take place over the next few days, church officials said.

“We sincerely pray for all those who are dealing with this virus as well as those who live in places where it is impacting their daily lives,” the statement read.

Missionaries in China have recently “rigorously followed preventative health practices to avoid illness,” church officials said.

As part of those health practices, individuals serving have stayed home, refrained from teaching lessons, worn masks, and frequently washed their hands.

“Therefore, the likelihood of any of these missionaries having contracted the coronavirus is very low,” church officials said.

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