At a time, when Coronavirus is spreading like a wildfire in different parts of the world, religious gatherings are emerging as one of the biggest causes behind a sudden surge in the spread of novel Wuhan infection. Case in point being the Tablighi Jamaat conference in Delhi earlier this month that has put every corner of India at risk of a major Coronavirus time bomb exploding any time soon.
Meanwhile, reports of another such instance of a reckless religious gathering creating a potential Coronavirus disaster have come from France where hundreds gathered at the Christian Open Door Church on February 18 amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic that had already hit several parts of the world, including Europe.
Some of those who attended the week-long gathering in Mulhouse, a French city, had travelled long distances from Germany and Switzerland. But this time the annual gathering in this Church was different as one of the attendees was carrying the novel Coronavirus.
The congregational prayer meeting in the French Church has now created the biggest Coronavirus cluster in the country. Around 2,500 cases have been directly linked to the week-long prayer meeting held at the said Church.
But France is not the only country affected by this prayer meeting insofar COVID-19 is concerned. Its tremors have been felt way beyond the boundaries of France, as worshippers from the Church have transported the novel Coronavirus as far as the West African state of Burkina Faso, to the Mediterranean island of Corsica, to Guyana in Latin America and to Switzerland.
Within France, the virus has been carried from the congregational Church meeting to a nuclear power plant, and also into the workshops of one of France’s biggest automakers.
Around 2500 worldwide COVID cases have been linked to the Prayer meeting organized by Christian Open Door Church on Feb. 18th in Mulhouse, France.
— UniversalReligiousFreeDoom (@by2kaafi) March 30, 2020
In fact, this Church cluster weighed heavily in Germany’s decision to partially close its borders with France, suspending a 25-year free-movement bilateral agreement with France. Moreover, the disaster triggered by the prayer meeting at the Church last month has already resulted in 17 deaths.
What further reveals the role of the congregational meeting in actually triggering the Coronavirus Pandemic in France is the fact that before the meeting there were only twelve confirmed cases in the country and none in Mulhouse, but at the time of writing this story the number of confirmed cases in France had shot up to 44,550 along with 3,024 deaths.
But then France is not the only country, which is facing the scourge of a religious meeting turning into a major Coronavirus cluster. A similar Church gathering in South Korea triggered more than 5,000 cases there.
Even more disturbing is the case of Qom, one of the holiest cities of Iran from where videos went viral be seen kissing windows of tombs and shrines, creating a perfect recipe for a massive Coronavirus outbreak. Imagine thousands of pilgrims having got infected in such cities and then carrying the virus to their respective countries, creating major clusters in their localities.
Such religious gatherings have defeated the purpose of social distancing around the globe. Meanwhile, temples in India seem to have shown the way as some of the most historic ones were shut for pilgrims well ahead of the nationwide lockdown in the country. This is something that the West must learn from India- not putting religion before life.