Jehovah's Witnesses reject Kanal 2 Kiviõli coronavirus claims

Mass Jehovah's Witnesses gathering (picture is illustrative).
Mass Jehovah's Witnesses gathering (picture is illustrative). Source: ERR

A religious group in Estonia has rejected claims made on Kanal 2 TV show "Reporter+" on Saturday that its members were spreading coronavirus in the eastern Estonian town of Kiviõli, Baltic News Service reports.

The Jehovah's Witnesses said that any spreading of the virus' in the town was not related to their activities.

"The Jehovah's Witnesses take the prevention of the spread of coronavirus very seriously," Lembit Reile, board member of the Jehovah's Wtinesses congregations union in Estonia said via a press release.

"Congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Ida-Viru County and the whole of Estonia are following the government's guidelines. Our meetings are only taking place via video link, and public preaching activity has been suspended. We are fully cooperating with health care institutions and our website has useful information on the prevention of illnesses," Reile added.

Reile said that the report constituted fake news, which was still public on the Kanal 2 site, adding the organization, which claims between eight and nine million members worldwide, was considering legal action.

"Kanal 2 has not removed this fake news from its website. We are considering legal steps to combat this malicious lie," Reile said.

Kanal 2 is owned by Postimees Group, one of two major private media companies in Estonia.

The Jehovah's Witnesses say on their site that they have 57 congregations and over 4,000 ministers in Estonia.

Ida-Viru County has a reported incidence of COVID-19 of 8.44 per 10,000 inhabitants, compared with 9.65 in Harju County, Estonia's most populous region.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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