People-to-People Pilgrimages Statement on COVID-19
UPDATE: As of March 19, 2020, the Department of State has now issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel for U.S. citizens.
Global Ministries has been carefully monitoring the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, evaluating risks, and making decisions that would ensure the health and safety of international partners, mission co-workers, mission pilgrimage participants, and staff. Hundreds of new cases of the virus are added daily in the United States alone, which means the situation is changing rapidly. The spread of COVID-19 seems to have gathered momentum in many countries around the world, and many struggle to contain it.
The U.S. Department of State has issued a Global Level 3 Health Advisory – Reconsider Travel notice. For this reason, the People-to-People Pilgrimage Program is asking that all mission pilgrimages scheduled through May 31, 2020 are cancelled and/or postponed. Pilgrimages beyond this date will be assessed as more information becomes available. Several mission pilgrimages have already been cancelled for the months of March and April in collaboration with global health efforts.
It is important to act calmly and responsibly as many of the international communities we serve have limited access to healthcare or testing for COVID-19, which could go undiagnosed and uncontained. These are already vulnerable communities, and exposure to COVID-19 in these areas could have catastrophic results. If you are organizing a mission pilgrimage on your own, it is encouraged that you also take this notice seriously to avoid further spread of this virus. For the latest information on COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website and the World Health Organization’s website.
The People-to-People Pilgrimage Program remains available to answer your questions and/or concerns. Please join us in prayer for all those affected by this virus throughout the world and in finding ways to love and support one another as God’s children. We are thankful for your interest, commitment, and support of God’s mission in the world. Take good care of yourselves!
Lorna B. Hernandez
Director, People-to-People Pilgrimage Program