As the coronavirus continues to impact China, with nearly 500 deaths and 25,000 reported cases, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made the decision to transfer 113 missionaries out of the China Hong Kong mission. The decision was released as a full news statement from the Church Newsroom. It reads:
In light of the coronavirus and the increasing difficulty of conducting missionary work in Hong Kong and Macau, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is transferring 113 missionaries out of the China Hong Kong Mission over the next few days. These missionaries will be temporarily reassigned to other missions or, if they were nearing their scheduled release date, will return home and be honorably released. Twelve additional missionaries who are from Hong Kong will return to their homes and be released from service until the situation has stabilized.
Prior to being reassigned, out of an abundance of caution, most missionaries will return to their homes and follow guidelines from the World Health Organization, including to self-isolate for 14 days. Where required, they will undergo a government-mandated quarantine at a government facility based on the guidelines established by their home countries. Families are receiving instructions about how to carry this out. After the 14 days, if the missionaries continue to show no signs of coronavirus, they will depart for their new temporary assignments.
It is important to note that for several days prior to leaving Hong Kong, all missionaries have rigorously followed preventative health practices to avoid illness including remaining in their apartments as much as possible, not engaging in teaching, wearing masks, and frequently washing their hands. Therefore, the likelihood of any of these missionaries having contracted the coronavirus is very low. Additionally, each missionary is required to show no symptoms before leaving Hong Kong.
The Church has a special responsibility to care for our missionaries who are serving as volunteers, but we are also working to support members, employees, and other Church personnel in Hong Kong and other areas where the coronavirus is a concern. We sincerely pray for all those who are dealing with this virus as well as those who live in places where it is impacting their daily lives. The Church will continue to follow developments closely and make any further adjustments as needed.