Mobile/Baldwin church group trapped in Holy Land under coronavirus quarantine

Coronavirus

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Thirteen members of 3Circle Church campuses in Mobile and Baldwin counties are quarantined in a hotel in Bethlehem, Palestine as fears over the coronavirus grow.

Pastor Chris Bell said they have been quarantined their group in the Angel Hotel for two days and have yet to get assistance from the U.S. Embassy.

Bell said the group left on a flight Sunday. At one point, they stayed at the Angel Hotel and then left for the next leg of their journey. Bell said their tour bus was informed that a Greek tourist and some hotel workers had tested positive for COVID-19. Bell said local authorities advised them to return to the hotel and stay there.

It’s not clear when the group could leave the hotel and Bell said they’ve had difficulty getting assistance from the U.S. Embassy. He said that so far, no one in their group has tested positive for the illness.

Here’s a full statement from the 3Circle Church:

Beginning on March 1, 3Circle Church sent a team, along with the lead pastor, executive team, and other key staff members, on a tour to visit the Holy Land sites. The team landed in Israel on March 3, staying at a local hotel in Bethlehem. Late evening, on March 4, the team received news from the hotel that the previous week a Greek tourist, who had stayed at the hotel, tested positive for the coronavirus in his home country of Greece. Taking precautions, the hotel was notified to send all guests away the following morning. So, the team left the hotel early morning on March 5. While on the road, they were called back by the hotel to be tested for the virus, as an employee of the hotel had just tested positive.

After reaching out to the U.S. Embassy, the team was advised to go back to the hotel in Bethlehem to be tested for the virus. At the hotel, the team was told they could not be in the hotel, because it had not been cleansed of the virus. The team was, then, sent to a friend’s home in Bethlehem where they stayed for several hours without clear instruction or any virus testing. Later that evening, the local Bethlehem authorities came to the home, being very helpful, and told the team to go back to the hotel to be quarantined for 14 days and to await testing.

Now, the team of 13 3Circle Church staff members and employees of the hotel are in an unexplained quarantine at the hotel until further notice. So far, 7 hotel employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. The 3Circle team has yet to be tested in any way. They are advised to stay in separate rooms until further instruction.

3Circle Church

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