The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that it will be stopping production of religious clothing and switching to the manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline medical workers.
In a statement, Church President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors, Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyrin of the First Presidency, said the organisation's Beehive Clothing facilities in the United States and around the world were shifting gears to make millions of clinical face masks and gowns for donation to healthcare workers.
Nelson said: "We are joining with other organizations around the world to address specific needs related to the pandemic. For example, our Beehive Clothing facilities in Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, Paraguay, and Utah are temporarily shifting their operations from the manufacture of religious clothing to the sewing of masks and gowns needed by local health care professionals and communities.
“To date, we have approved over 110 COVID-19 relief projects in 57 countries. Most of these are done with trusted partners from humanitarian agencies, health ministries and hospitals, which allows us to use our resources—including food, hygiene products, personal protective equipment, medical equipment, cash and other commodities—in places where they can do the most good.
“We invite our members to participate in these and other relief projects in their areas and communities as opportunities arise and as local government directives and personal circumstances allow. May we be blessed in our efforts to care for others and provide hope and help to our Heavenly Father’s children everywhere.”
There are just over 2 million cases of coronavirus now confirmed worldwide, with 136,000 deaths. The United States is dealing with the largest number of COVID-19 infections - currently around 650,000 - and has logged almost 30,000 deaths.