South Korean COVID-19 infections linked to secretive religious cult

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RESTRICTIONS: Broadcast: NO USE JAPAN, NO USE TAIWAN Digital: NO USE JAPAN, NO USE TAIWAN
Coronavirus infection cases have surged in South Korea, with more than half linked to a religious cult whose secretive nature is said to have helped the virus spread undetected.

The Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,146 confirmed COVID-19 infections in the country as of February 26. Majority are located in the city of Daegu and neighboring Cheongdo county, where they are centered around a hospital and the Shincheonji church of Jesus.

The New York Times reports that the link to many of the cases is a 61-year-old woman known as Patient No. 31. Despite presenting a fever and sore throat, she initially refused to be tested for the virus, and attended several Shincheonji church gatherings before testing positive.

Church members sit packed together on the floor during services and are not allowed to wear glasses or face masks. Citing South Korean health officials, the BBC reports that any gathering in such a confined space attended by Patient No. 31 would likely have led to more infections.

Another cluster at a hospital in Cheongo has also been associated with the church. According to the New York Times, a large number of followers attended a funeral at a hall owned by the hospital. Over 100 patients and staff have since tested positive for the virus.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Infections in South Korea centered in hospital and church in Daegu
2. Cases linked to infected church member
3. Church member spreading virus during service in confined space
4. Cluster of infections at Cheongdo hospital
5. Infected church member visiting Cheongdo bathhouse

VOICEOVER (in English):
"The Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,146 confirmed COVID-19 infections in the country as of February 26."

"Majority are located in the city of Daegu and neighboring Cheongdo county, where they are centered around a hospital and the Shincheonji church of Jesus."

"The New York Times reports that the link to many of the cases is a 61-year-old woman known as Patient No. 31."

"Despite presenting a fever and sore throat, she initially refused to be tested for the virus, and attended several Shincheonji church gatherings before testing positive."

"Church members sit packed together on the floor during services and are not allowed to wear glasses or face masks."

"Citing South Korean health officials, the BBC reports that any gathering in such a confined space attended by Patient No. 31 would likely have led to more infections."

"Another cluster at a hospital in Cheongo has also been associated with the church. According to the New York Times, a large number of followers attended a funeral at a hall owned by the hospital."

"Over 100 patients and staff have since tested positive for the virus."

"Health officials learned that Patient No. 31 had also been in Cheongdo in early February. She told Newsis she hadn't visited the funeral or the hospital, only a public bathhouse."

SOURCES: KCDC, BBC, New York Times, The Guardian
https://www.cdc.go.kr/board/board.es?mid=a30402000000&bid=0030
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-51609840
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/21/world/asia/south-korea-coronavirus-shincheonji.html
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/22/coronavirus-south-korea-sees-huge-jump-cases-china-hubei-wuhan-outbreak-