Bad press for Good News Fellowship Church over unfair Covid-19 link

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By Chew Lip Song

THE Good News Fellowship (GNF) Church in Kuching has been stigmatized after it was linked to 83 Covid-19 positive cases following a conference it hosted in late February.

Its pastor Jeff Wei said the use of the term “Good News Fellowship Conference Church cluster” by the authorities and the media has given rise to misleading perceptions that its 600-strong congregants were responsible for spreading the disease, The Malaysian Insight reported.

“As a result of this, the public thinks it’s just about GNF and a number of us have received unpleasant and unwarranted attacks,” Wei said, but did not specify the nature of the attacks.

About 100 participants took part in the three-day seminar held at the church from February 26 to 28. Among those who tested positive were Sarawak assistant Transport Minister Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, who took part in the event.

There were also two deaths from the cluster, according to the Health Ministry’s crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC).

He said the one of the country’s first Covid-19 deaths, Pastor David Cheng, has been attributed to this cluster, but Cheng was from another church – Emmanuel Baptist, also in Kuching.

Cheng, 60, died on March 17. He had participated in the seminar held at Wei’s church.

Following this, about 190 people who came into contact with Cheng from the Emmanuel Baptist and GNF churches were traced and tested.

The ministry stated that 50 people who came into contact with Cheng tested positive and were warded, while another 25 who were asymptomatic were quarantined.

“It was reported that two people died, while in fact, no one from the (GNF) church has died,” Wei added.

Wei also disputed the ministry’s report that five people are critically ill and receiving intensive care.

“As of (April 6), only two persons from GNF are in ICU and they are improving. Two others have been discharged from ICU and are recovering well in normal wards.”

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