The Myanmar pastor who defied his country’s orders and pressed ahead with running his church services has tested positive for covid-19.
Pastor David Lah, the senior minister at Myanmar Mission Church, is allegedly responsible for a number of coronavirus infections after holding in-house meetings, all the while stating that the virus would not be able to penetrate the attendees.
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In a sermon posted to social media, the pastor stated, “I had a conversation with someone yesterday who told me that thanks to God, there is not a single Christian who has been infected with the virus. I can guarantee that the church that goes by Jesus’s teaching, there will be no infection.”
Well, not so fast, Pastor Lah. This is a classic example of putting God to the test in the face of a virus that is highly contagious. As respected columnist Dr. Michael Brown wrote just last week, we should not put God to the test in this.
Just days later, Lah tested positive for COVID-19. Now, he and three other people have also been charged with violating the country’s Natural Disaster Management Law.
Local news reports state that as of Friday, at least 22 coronavirus cases were linked to the religious event that Lah hosted, including the pastor himself and famous Myanmar Christian rock singer Myo Gyi.
As of Saturday, Myanmar has recorded at least 94 cases of infections and five deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally. Many of the new cases have no recent travel history and no contact with recent travelers.
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic in Myanmar is part of the ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a novel infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus.
Myanmar has been accused of its denial of the existence of the coronavirus deaths and victims, given the inadequate healthcare system compared to its neighboring countries, the large, active borders with China and Thailand, both heavily effected by COVID-19, and Myanmar’s quickly increasing connections with international airport hubs.
The Burmese government has denied the claim, with Zaw Htay mentioning that the absence of infection was due to the “lifestyle and diet” of Myanmar citizens, that “Myanmar does not share the customs of greeting with handshakes, hugs or kisses”, as well as Myanmar citizens “generally paying for purchases with cash instead of credit cards”, making it “unlikely” to spread. His statement has been faced with some criticism.
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