Californian megachurch Bethel Church has been forced to respond after a large number of people contracted the coronavirus whilst on their premises.

Health officials reported that the church, based in Shasta County, Northern California, has been linked to a recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

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Officials have stated that 123 of the Covid-19 cases reported in Shasta County in the past fortnight are linked to Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry, Bethel’s Bible college, which sees students from all over the world move to the isolated town to study under Bethel’s ministry.

“All students and staff who have been in close contact with these individuals have been instructed to quarantine in their homes as well,” Bethel said in the release, which was published by Redding Record Searchlight.

“Our school culture values community,” Kris Vallotton, director of the School of Supernatural Ministry, said. “In this unprecedented year, our strength in building community presents challenges and a temporary need for change.

“We deeply care about the health of our students, and have strongly communicated to them the importance of protecting our local community in Shasta County by wearing masks, social distancing and staying home when sick.”

It is reported that students arriving at the school are required to take a Covid-19 test, in addition to self-quarantining for 14 days prior to commencing the academic year.

Students and staff are reportedly required to wear face coverings when they are in rooms where six feet of social distancing isn’t possible.

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