How coronavirus spread through the Shincheonji religious group in South Korea

This is an organization that took roll call, he says, and everyone had to physically swipe in and out of services with a special card. Any absence was noted and followed up on.

“The culture was, even though you’re sick you come in on Sunday. If you’re so sick you can’t come Sunday, you have to come on Monday or Tuesday — you have to make up for the time,” Kim says. He describes how, when he was a member, followers would sit on the floor during hours-long services “packed together like sardines.”

The religious group says it is cooperating with local authorities, and has shut down all church services and gatherings.

A disinfection professional wears protective gear and sprays anti-septic solution at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, on on February 24.

“We are sanitizing every church and annex buildings all across the nation, including Daegu branch. We will actively participate in disease prevention activity, following the government’s measure,” reads a statement frpm the group.

The religious group also lashed out at its critics.

“The media had been reporting that we are the main culprit in the spread of virus, referring to our ‘unusual service style’ — a reality where we had to hold service on the floor to maximize the number of occupants in our small space,” the statement adds.

But Kim, who still has friends within the group, and other former members have told CNN that attendees are not allowed to wear anything on their faces — even glasses — during prayer time.

“They were forced recently not to wear masks even though the whole corona (virus) outbreak was going on. They said, no, it’s disrespectful to God to…

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