The Australian health service in the state of New South Wales, where the megachurch Hillsong is based, has issued a Covid alert to anyone who visited the campus for 45 minutes on Tuesday. The founder of the church has said “the Christmas lights were switched off” and that the church was not open at that time.
The NSW health service put Hills Campus, Hillsong church in Sydney on their updated list of venues where someone with a confirmed case of Covid-19 had visited. Those who visited at the same time were told to monitor symptoms, to take a test if they occur and to self-isolate between recognising symptoms and getting the test. It was not put on a list of venues where people were told to take a test immediately.
Brian Houston, the leader of Hillsong, clarified on Twitter that it did not refer to the church and claimed that their Christmas lights display was also off.
“The NSW govt issued a health alert for people who visited our Hills campus between 8-8.45pm on 29 December. At that time the church was completely shut and the Christmas lights were switched off after Christmas night. The NSW govt had been made aware of that.”
In a comment, he added that he thought the health service was “just being over cautious in this instance.”
The church community was criticised recently for gathering near the church's Christmas lights in large numbers to worship, with some thinking the church should not have put up the lights in the first place.
Houston said that these lights were drive-thru and also were off from 25th December, causing people to wonder why the campus was put on the list because of events on 29th December.