Jaffna Philadelphia Church parishioners asked to self-quarantine after Pastor gets COVID19

ECONOMYNEXT – The authorities in the northern city of Jaffna have asked all those who participated in a service in the Philadelphia Church in Ariyalai on March 15 to self-quarantine as they believe the attendees may have been exposed to COVID19.

Governor of the Northern Province P S M Charles told EconomyNext that around 150 people are believed to have attended the service.

She said that after the Pastor returned to his home in Switzerland his wife had told the parishioners to pray for him as he is unwell with the coronavirus.

Governor Charles said that after that she asked that “all those who attended the service to self-quarantine as a precautionary measure.”

She said that there is no list of the people who attended the service.

“Some say that the devotees came from different provinces, even all over the country,” she said.

Charles added that two families who came for the service have been found in Vavuniya. “The GA Kilinochchi is also looking for some people,” she said.

She added that the Jaffna Teaching Hospital has been requested to test all those who are registered and for their test results to be provided as soon as possible.

At least three people who attended the service have been admitted to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital with symptoms.

Officials said that the Pastor had appeared to be unwell when he conducted the service.

After the service the Pastor had “hugged and blessed all the people who were there,” Charles said.

The Church is in Ariyalai in the Nallur Pradeshiya Sabha area and the celebration was held despite requests from the government to halt religious and other gatherings.

Officials in the North are concerned as most of the hospitals in the region are under-staffed and a major crisis could overwhelm the health services quickly. (Colombo March 21, 2020)

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