Due to media inquiries regarding the coronavirus, the following statement has been issued by Daniel Woodruff, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
While the Church does not conduct missionary work in mainland China, there are more than 67,000 missionaries serving around the world and their health and safety is our top priority. We are closely monitoring the situation with the coronavirus and are in regular contact with medical professionals and experts on this issue.
We are following the recommendations of the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local authorities throughout the world and are ready to make adjustments as needed.
Information is being distributed to mission leaders and missionaries that will help them take steps to protect themselves against respiratory illness. As they communicate weekly, parents should encourage their missionaries to follow standard practices to stay healthy and protect against illness.
As concerns regarding the respiratory illness coronavirus continue to rise, Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, inquired of his longtime friends in China as to what might be needed.
Through these efforts, the Church learned of a need for protective equipment at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, where supplies have been depleted because of the outbreak in Wuhan. In partnering with Project HOPE, plans are being made to distribute the needed supplies.
Working with Project HOPE, a plane from Salt Lake City is being chartered to transport supplies from the Church’s Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City. A second shipment will be sent from the Church’s storehouse in Atlanta. In all there will be 220,000 respirator masks, 870 pairs of protective goggles and more than 6,500 pairs of protective coveralls sent on 79 pallets of protective medical equipment.
In Shanghai, Latter-day Saint volunteers hope to assist in the receipt and distribution of the supplies to those in need.
President Nelson, a world-renowned heart surgeon for much of his life until called as an apostle of the Church in 1984, is well-known for performing heart surgery, including in China, where his final operation was performed in 1985. Through his professional career and service to the Church he has made lasting and enduring friendships. “I have had associations with the good people of China for decades. These are our dear brothers and sisters,” President Nelson said, “and we feel privileged to be able to offer some small measure of help. We pray for them and know God will bless them.”
I have had associations with the good people of China for decades. These are our dear brothers and sisters, and we feel privileged to be able to offer some small measure of help. We pray for them and know God will bless them.
Coronavirus was first identified in the Hubei Province of China, where the number of infections has reached nearly 6,000, with dozens more confirmed cases outside of mainland China. Governments and citizens around the world are stepping up precautions to contain the spread of the virus.