Floor Leader Ju Ho-young of the main opposition United Future Party said Pastor Jun Kwang-hun of Sarang Jeil Church, the focal point of what has become Korea’s second-largest COVID-19 cluster, should face consequences, seeking to distance his party from some Christian groups resisting the government‘s anti-virus efforts.
“What Rev. Jun has done is unforgivable. He should be held responsible for his actions that threatened the public good,” Rep. Ju said in an interview with local media.
The floor leader is the first among the conservative party’s leadership to condemn the controversial pastor and his church, as public anger intensified over their refusal to cooperate with the government’s efforts to test and isolate who might be infected.
Police searched the Sarang Jeil Church in northern Seoul from late Friday till early Saturday to secure information on its membership, after two previous attempts by health authorities and Seoul city government officials failed in the face of strong resistance by church officials.
As of noon Friday, 732 people linked to the church have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Hundreds remained out of reach.
Hwang Kyo-ahn, the United Future Party’s former chairman, had publicly expressed his support for Jun and Christian far-rightists.
Health authorities say a virus breakout among Sarang Jeil Church’s members is now on the verge of spreading nationwide, due mainly to church members’ attendance at massive anti-government protest held on Aug. 15 in central Seoul. Many of them took part in the rally in defiance of orders to self-isolate after the church cluster was discovered, including the pastor himself.
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