Nearly 50 people have been infected with Covid-19 at a church in South Korea after an official sprayed salt water into members’ mouths because they thought it would kill the virus, according to The South China Morning Post, citing officials.
Video images from the River of Grace Community Church in Gyeonggi Province, south of Seoul, show a church official sticking the nozzle of a spray bottle deep into the mouth of one follower after another, during a prayer gathering attended by some 100 followers on March 1 and March 8. Those infected include the pastor and his wife.
“It’s been confirmed that they put the nozzle of the spray bottle inside the mouth of a follower who was later confirmed as a patient, before they did likewise for other followers as well, without disinfecting the sprayer,” said Lee Hee-young, head of Gyeonggi Province’s coronavirus task force.
“This made it inevitable for the virus to spread,” he said. “They did so out of the false belief that salt water kills the virus.”
The church was consequently closed and all its believers who attended the prayer sessions are being tested.
The new cases have fuelled the South Korean government’s vigilance to detect new virus clusters, especially in city areas, even as it has managed to slow the spread of infections.
South Korea confirmed 74 new cases on Monday, bringing its total tally to 8,236. The number of new cases was below 100 for the second consecutive day, and the number of people released from care on Sunday after a full recovery also surpassed the number of new infections.