A Christian pastor in France, who held a week-long fasting prayer meeting that led to a huge spike in the number of Coronavirus (COVID 19) cases in the country has finally apologized saying he did not take the warning seriously.
Thiebault Geyer of Christian Open Door church said that he wanted to first apologize to God himself. "Sorry God for my selfishness," Pastor Geyer said after local authorities confirmed that 2,500 members of his church were infected with the deadly Coronavirus.
At least 17 members who contracted coronavirus after attending the week-long prayer meeting at the Christian Open Door Church located in the eastern city of Mulhouse have died, a local news report said.
The church and the pastor now have come under heavy criticism following which he appeared on local news channels to "apologize....to have taken the crisis lightly."
"I couldn't listen. I am sorry to God for my selfishness," he said adding that now he was conducting all the services online.
It is reported that in the mass fasting prayer 295 children were also present.
According to Le Point, during the meeting, the pastor led a prayer for some members who had contracted the virus and later even called up two elderly to pray for family members of patients who had died of coronavirus.
The two elderly, who came forward to pray for others -- an 83-year-old man and a 67-year-old woman --- both have died after contracting the coronavirus at the Church.
The epidemic "started from this evangelical gathering" and "for [their] disrespect of the barrier measures. We are now paying a high price for [them] not taking basic measures into account," Josiane Chevalier, prefect of the Grand Est told France Inter.
The church held the meetings from February 17 till February 24. And the authorities were soon alerted after two young girls who attended the meeting were tested positive for coronavirus on March 1.
On April 1, France reported its highest one-day death toll with 509 more fatalities, following which France's Health Minister Oliver Véran said that the pandemic was on a trajectory that was "extremely serious and worrying... the situation remains extremely tense."
As of April 1, the total number of deaths due to coronavirus in France was 4,032, while there were close to 25,000 people infected with the deadly virus.