South Korea today recorded a total of 156 cases of nCoV infection, of which at least 43 people were infected by a 61-year-old woman known as `Patient 31`, living in Daegu, 240 km southwest of Seoul.

On February 8, this woman was hospitalized because of a traffic accident. Doctors advised her to undergo a nCoV test but refused.

Cleaning staff disinfect the area in front of the branch of the Shincheonji sect in Daegu on February 20.

This event, suspected by Korean medical experts to be a `super infection`, made the Shincheonji sect the focus of attention.

In 1984, Lee Man-hee, a man born in 1931 in Cheongdo City, North Gyeongsang Province, declared that he was a prophet of God and that Jesus appeared brightly before his eyes.

The sect founded by Lee Man-hee has attracted about 200,000 members.

`Shin Thien Dia followers do not even inform their family members about their joining the sect,` said priest Shin Hyun-wook, an anti-cult activist in Korea.

Shincheonji is a controversial organization and has been considered heretical by branches of Christianity, including Protestantism, Catholicism and the Orthodox Church in South Korea.

This sect claimed the Bible was written allegorically and could only be interpreted and understood by Lee.

In August 2019, the Baptist church in Manipur, India also warned followers to be wary of Tan Thien Dia.

Now, this sect is at risk of becoming an `outbreak` when about 1,100 people from many different provinces of Korea attended the church prayer service with Patient 31.

Of these, about 90 people have shown symptoms of virus infection, while Korean health officials have not yet been able to contact nearly 396 people.

South Korean health officials have asked thousands of sect followers to self-isolate by staying at home, avoiding contact with family, Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin said.

Jung Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), urged people who went to church to report to authorities if they have symptoms.

Pastor Shin is concerned that there are many other cases of infection related to this sect because of the `missionary rooms` here.

`This sect sends recruiters to other Christian churches and attends prayer meetings there to invite ordinary believers to join,` he said.

A believer told local newspaper Nocut News that Patient 31 had close contact with others during prayers on February 9 and 16.

Shincheonji’s church in Daegu city is located in an 8-story building.

After that, they sat in small groups chatting, while the women held meals together.

Tan Thien Dia said sect leaders have urged followers to stay home since late January if they have recently traveled abroad or feel unwell.

Park Hyung-tak, head of the Korean Institute for the Study of Heresy Related to Christianity, said that although a large number of nCoV infections occurred within the sect, it likely did not affect the loyalty of believers.

`Most believers see the church becoming an outbreak as a test of their faith,` Park said.