A Myanmar pastor who shunned government orders and continued to hold in-person meetings has tested positive for covid-19. Pastor David Lah is thought to be responsible for a number of coronavirus infections after holding in-person meetings and declaring that the illness would not touch the believers in attendance.
"I had a conversation with someone yesterday, who told me that thanks to God, there is not a single Christian who has been infected with the virus," the pastor said in a sermon posted to social media. "I can guarantee that the church that goes by Jesus's teaching, there will be no infection."
According to local reports, at least 22 coronavirus cases have been linked to the religious event that Lah hosted. There are only around 100 cases in the entire country.
Now, as a result of their defiance, pastor Lah and three other men have been charged with violating the country's Natural Disaster Management Law. They face three years in prison each, a fine, or both. All four of the accused have tested positive for coronavirus and will be subject to legal action once they have recovered.
Myanmar's Vice President Henry Van Thio has had to undergo a coronavirus test after an image was circulated widely on social media that showed Pastor Lah shaking hands with the politician. As it turns out, the pair's meeting took place all the way back in February.
Myanmar is a predominantly Buddhist country, with Christians comprising around 6% of the total population. Followers of Jesus have experienced heightened levels of persecution ever since the government launched a military crackdown on religious minorities back in 2016.