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SALT LAKE CITY — Non-native Latter-day Saint missionaries in much of Africa, the Philippines and islands near Guam will return to their home countries, according to recent news releases from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"Due to the spread of COVID-19 and new travel regulations instituted by several African governments, missionaries currently serving in most missions in Africa who are not native to those regions will be temporarily moved," the news release reads.
Missionaries not native to Africa will return home to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution. They will then be reassigned to new, temporary assignments in their home countries "based on capacity and need."
"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," the news release reads.
This change applies to all but eight African missions.
The same will be happening for missionaries in countries within the Micronesia Guam Mission — essentially, those serving on islands other than Guam.
On Tuesday, the church announced that it would remove non-native missionaries from the Philippines. They will also return to their home countries for a new assignment and will undergo a 14-day period of self-isolation.
The same happened in early March and late February in Korea and Mongolia, respectively.
Prospective missionaries who are preparing to serve in Japan, Korea, Cambodia, Singapore and Thailand will either postpone their start date or receive a new, temporary assignment. All missionaries have been removed from the China Hong Kong Mission.
Missionaries who come home are instructed to self-isolate for 14 days, and many missionaries who remain in regions where COVID-19 is especially concerning are taking precautions, like staying inside their apartments and avoiding personal interactions.
Young missionaries with health issues and senior missionaries in European missions, as well as some eastern European and North American missions, have returned home. Some young men in the United States and Canada may also conclude their service three months early.
Missionaries scheduled to enter missionary training centers in Provo and Preston, England, as well as missionaries from regions where government officials are restricting activity, will be trained remotely via video.