The Chinese government has temporarily closed all of the country’s places of worship in an effort to contain the COVID-19 respiratory coronavirus that has now killed almost 3,000 people, with more than 80,000 around the world verified with infections.

The government also banned all group religious activities, including at the YMCA. But it also praised religious groups of all faiths for raising money in an effort to help people afflicted by the disease, people trapped in quarantine zones as well as health workers and others on the front line of the fight to contain the epidemic.

“The party committee and government have unified requirements to suspend the opening of religious venues, suspend all collective religious activities, delay the opening of religious schools, strengthen publicity and guidance for religious people, actively donate goods, and do a lot of work to win the fight against epidemic prevention and control,” said an official statement.

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