Roy Gilbert

COVID-19 Leads to Prosecution of House-Church Group in Vietnam

June 2 , 2021 ( Morning Star News ) – A house-church organization in Vietnam is facing government prosecution and community hate due to COVID-19, sources said.

A couple who attended the meeting place of the Revival Ekklesia Mission (REM), an independent, charismatic house-church organization headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City, went to the Gia Dinh General Hospital on May 26 not feeling well. Authorities had imposed a ban on meetings of more than 20 people the last two weeks of May, and by then the church had gone mostly online, with only seven people present, according to REM leader the Rev. Vo Xuan Loan.

When the couple tested positive for COVID-19, Vietnam’s highly organized tracing system went into action. By Tuesday (June 1), officials had identified 211 other positive cases connected with the REM center.

Infections had also spread to seven other provinces. Nearly 200,000 residents in 16 districts of Ho Chi Minh City were “associated with this cluster,” according to the HCMC Center for Disease Control. Some 50,000 people in the vicinity were to be tested.

Fallout was swift. On Sunday (May 30), the REM’s registration was “temporarily suspended,” and on Tuesday (June 1), local security police announced the group was under criminal investigation for spreading COVID-19. The deputy minister of Home Affairs said if serious violations were found, REM would suffer much stiffer penalties, including the possibility of “permanent erasure.”

Authorities have locked down Ho Chi Minh City over this and other hotspots, and foreign incoming flights have been suspended. Authorities […]

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