Coronavirus South Korea
Workers in protective gear spray disinfectant in a market in Daegu, South Korea. Im Hwa-young / Yonhap

With the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus surging and celebrities getting tested for the virus, rumors of them being part of a religious cult that was allegedly the source of COVID-19 in South Korea are on the rise. Agencies representing the celebrities have decided to take legal action if any actor from their agencies are targeted with such rumors.

Coronavirus is alleged to have spread in South Korea from a member, known as 'patient 31', of the Shincheonji Church, who had attended a gathering of devotees of the cult.

Against this background, there are rumors that many actors are part of the cult and are undergoing tests. With rumors spreading widely through social media, the agencies have declared that they will take legal measures against such fake news purveyors.

SM Entertainment, KeyEast Entertainment, MAJOR9, and MSteam Entertainment have clarified that none of their artistes and actors have anything to do with the Shincheonji cult.

Another agency to warn of legal action is Play M Entertainment following rumors that its artiste Huh Gak was involved with the sect. Song Ji Hyo's agency Creative Group ING has said she has no connection with Shincheonji.

FNC Entertainment too denied that any of its artistes were part of the sect.

Other agencies to speak out include Namoo Actors having artistes like Ji Sung and Moon Geun Young. BH Entertainment, which has Kim Go Eun and Yoo Ji Tae, also issued a denial of any of their members' involvement with the cult.

Contents Nanda Kinda that has Nam Gyu Ri said Gyu Ri is not a part of the sect.

South Korean singer Gummy personally denied similar rumors and her clarification was repeated by her agency C-JeS Entertainment saying: "The rumor that Gummy is a member of the Shincheonji religious group is untrue. We are currently monitoring online communities for such false rumors being spread."

Artists including Ivy, Tei, and Lee Dong Wook said they have nothing to do with Shincheonji.

Daegu, where the Shincheonji Church is situated, is the most affected city in South Korea. Among the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus (5, 532), over 2,300 are from Daegu.