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Couples Defy Coronavirus Fears As Mass Wedding Holds In South Korea

Couples wearing protective face masks attend a mass wedding ceremony organised by the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Center in Gapyeong on February 7, 2020. – South Korea has confirmed 24 cases of the SARS-like virus so far and placed nearly 260 people in quarantine for detailed checks amid growing public alarm. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP)

Some couples took the phrase “in sickness and in health” literally when they tied the knot in a mass Unification Church wedding Friday, despite concerns in South Korea over the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Wearing facemasks, the 30,000 crowd came together at the church founded by Sun Myung Moon who is revered as a messiah by his followers.

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The church decided to go ahead with the event despite the coronavirus fears because the event had been “four years in the making” as part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Moon’s birth, said official Jang Young-chul. But followers from China were asked not to come, he added.

Nearly 6,000 identical-dressed couples from 64 countries many of whom met for the first time in recent weeks married in Gapyeong, a festive mood filling the venue as newlyweds took group photos and were congratulated by friends and relatives.

One of the participants, Choi Ji-y0ung who met her husband through a match by the church two months ago said:

“I am overwhelmed that I am getting married today.”

The 21-year-old university student added:

“It would be a lie if I said I was not concerned at all about the infection. But I feel like I will be protected from the virus today.”

 

27-year-old Kim Chang-seong who was marrying a woman whom he met 20 days ago, said he was not concerned about infection because the mass wedding had “special meaning” for him.

“By marrying a fellow church believer, I am taking a path paved by our church leaders.”

Evelyne Chimfwembe, who flew in from Botswana to attend the ceremony with her husband of 28 years, said she was not worried about the virus as she believed the event would be “under God’s control”.

Check out photos from the mass wedding below:

In the wake of the outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus that emerged in neighbouring China, South Korea has recorded 24 cases.

China has recorded more than 30,000 cases while Seoul has barred entry to foreigners who have recently been in Wuhan, the epidemic’s centre.

In a bid to curtail the spread of the virus, festivals, graduation ceremonies, and K-pop concerts have been cancelled over fears large events could facilitate virus transmission, and authorities have asked religious groups to co-operate in preventing it spreading.

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