Missionaries Not Native To Philippines To Be Transferred Out
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – All missionaries not native to the Philippines will return from that country to their homes for self-isolation and reassignment.
The announcement was made Tuesday by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, after the Philippines placed a significant part of the country on quarantine because of the growing number of coronavirus infections.
According to the Associated Press, officials have told thousands of foreign travelers need to leave the northern Philippines by Friday or they will be stranded in the region.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared an “enhanced community quarantine” on the main island of Luzon that requires millions of people to stay mostly at home and restricts land, air and sea travel.
“With a new travel directive from the Philippines government, and due to a general disruption to their ability to carry out their service, all missionaries who are not native to the Philippines are being moved out of that country,” said Church spokesperson Daniel Woodruff.
Missionaries will be sent home, asked to stay in self-isolation for 14 days as a precaution, and then will begin new assignments.
Utahn Kiirsi Hellewell said it was a rollercoaster of emotion when she heard about the changes for her daughter, who was serving in the Philippines.
“At this point, we’re just waiting, praying, hoping everything’s okay and really hoping that we get to hear from her soon,” she said. “We’re going through a unique situation that none of us have experienced in our lifetimes, so that’s been extremely hard.”
Those missionaries native to the Philippines will remain in place.
Fourteen people have died of COVID-19 in the Philippines, the most in Southeast Asia.
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(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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