More Than 40 People Diagnosed With Coronavirus After Attending Church Service in Germany

Over 40 people have reportedly been diagnosed with the coronavirus after attending a church service in Frankfurt, Germany.

According to local newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau, many people were diagnosed with the virus following a Baptist church service at Evangeliums Christen Baptisten Frankfurt on May 10. Reuters reported that more than 40 people were diagnosed with the virus.

Despite many cases, most of the people diagnosed are in relatively good health. "Most of them are not seriously ill. As far as we know only one person has been admitted to hospital," Chief Medical Officer and Commissioner of the Health Protection Authority City of Frankfurt am Main Rene Gottschalk said, according to Reuters.

The church did not violate local laws and guidelines, according to deputy chief Antoni Walczok. "There was no violation of an ordinance," he told FR.

Churches have been allowed to hold services since May 1. They must follow distancing rules and hygiene laws, but there are not limits on the number of people who can attend services.

Despite the outbreak in a Baptist church, other services have gone on unaffected. According to FR, the diocese of Limburg has held services for two weeks and there have not been similar reports to those in Evangeliums Christen Baptisten.

Rules require celebrants to keep a distance of 1.5 meters (almost five feet) between people who do not live in the same house. Churches must also have disinfectant dispensers, and objects like collection baskets may not be passed.

The outbreak also affects people in areas surrounding Frankfurt. Residents in Wetterau, Hochtaunuskreis or Main-Kinzig-Kreis counties had been "more or less" affected, including 16 people who were diagnosed in Hanau.

"It is a very dynamic event," Walczok said.

Main-Kinzig leaders, district administrator Thorsten Stolz and first district representative Susanne Simmler, said that the outbreak shows how quickly the virus can spread, even in one event where protocols are followed.

According to its website, the church offers streams of Sunday worship, Ascension services on Thursdays, and a Bible study on Friday evenings. It also provides services in both German and Russian and translates services into sign language.

Newsweek reached out via email to the Frankfurt health department for comment and did not receive a response in time for publication. Italso tried to call the phone number listed for Evangeliums Christen Baptisten Frankfurt on Google, and left a voicemail for comment.

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Liebfrauenkirche, Frankfurt, Germany, 05 October 2014. Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) is a Roman Catholic Parish Church and Minster that dates from 1344. A German Baptist church reported forty coronavirus cases after holding a service on May 10. Horacio Villalobos/Corbis/Getty