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[Newsmaker] Pastor Jun under fire for improper mask-wearing on way to hospital

Jun Kwang-hoon is photographed not wearing his mask properly while walking toward an ambulance waiting to take him to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment, near his residence in Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, Monday. (Yonhap)
Jun Kwang-hoon is photographed not wearing his mask properly while walking toward an ambulance waiting to take him to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment, near his residence in Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, Monday. (Yonhap)

Public anger toward Jun Kwang-hoon, the conservative pastor at the center of a sprawling COVID-19 outbreak, intensified Tuesday when he was seen improperly wearing a face mask even as he was taken to a hospital for treatment after testing positive for the coronavirus.

In photos taken and revealed Monday, Jun is seen wearing a mask on his chin, with his mouth and nose uncovered, as he talks on his phone while walking toward the vehicle that would take him to the Seoul Medical Center for treatment. Another photo shows him using his phone inside the vehicle, again with the mask not covering his mouth or nose.

Jun, pastor of the Seoul-based Sarang Jeil Church, tested positive for the coronavirus Monday after attending a mass Liberation Day rally in central Seoul on Saturday. His wife and secretary also tested positive, according to health authorities.?
Jun, wearing a mask that does not cover his mouth or nose, is seated inside an ambulance before being taken to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment. (Yonhap)
Jun, wearing a mask that does not cover his mouth or nose, is seated inside an ambulance before being taken to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment. (Yonhap)

Despite repeated warnings from the government and an order to self-quarantine, Jun joined the anti-government rally along with tens of thousands of others, including members of his church. The rally organizer estimated the number of participants at 50,000.

The number of infections traceable to Sarang Jeil Church reached 319 as of Tuesday, less than a week after the first case was reported Aug. 12. It is now the country’s second-biggest cluster, the first having started at the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, which was linked to some 5,214 cases mostly in Daegu earlier this year.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare, together with the Seoul Metropolitan Government, filed a complaint against Jun accusing him of violating the country’s infectious disease prevention law by breaching the self-quarantine order and impeding the government’s epidemiological efforts.

By Ock Hyun-ju (laeticia.ock@heraldcorp.com)
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