Local Christians and foreign missionaries are being incorrectly blamed for a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in China's Hebei province.
A post has been circulating on social media that singles out Christians out as the source of the new coronavirus epidemic.
Implying that the Christians caused the new outbreak, the post said, "the village of Xiao Guozhuang, near Gaocheng is a Catholic village; 20 days ago, there was religious activity here, there were several priests from Europe and the United States […]."
The local priest of Shijiazhuang, Shanren Shenfu, said that the accused villages have no Christians and the church body's religious activities have been banned since Christmas Eve.
"The village of Xiao Guozhuang, Liu Jiazuo, Nan Qiaozhai are not Catholic villages, there are only a few Catholic residents," he said. "These villages do not have a Catholic place of prayer; they do not organize Catholic religious' meetings. To participate in the usual religious activities, all the faithful go to the adjacent village of Bei Qiaozhai, etc…"
According to Reuters, Chinese authorities are finally allowing an expert team of World Health Organization scientists into the country to investigate the origins of the virus.
The team "will conduct joint research cooperation on the origins of COVID-19 with Chinese scientists," said the Chinese health authority.