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As of March 19, 2020, this is what CP churches outside the US are reporting.
(edited March 23 to add response from CPs in Australia)

  1. Are CP Churches meeting in your country?
  • LAOS – Yes.
  • CAMBODIA – No. the government of Cambodia suspended all religion gatherings.
  • COLOMBIA – Most churches are not meeting in person for the next couple of weeks. The government has said no groups of 50 or more are allowed. Even groups smaller than 50 are playing it safe. Many of the groups are doing digital services or using technology to continue providing worship, sermons, or at least devotionals.
  • GUATEMALA – The president ordered the suspension of all meetings with any number of participants; therefore, CPs are not meeting at this time. We are preparing Bible studies to send to the members, the idea is that they can have family worship.
  • BELIZE – at present still meeting.
  • BRAZIL – The church in the municipality of Mata de São João will not have ecclesial services, until the government authorities arrange it. In the church of Mata de São João, in the countryside, the Sunday meeting has not been suspended so far. Evangelistic meetings may also voluntarily cease their activities.
  • PHILIPPINES – Iloilo CPC canceled services from March 15 because Iloilo City Government asked suspension of religious services for 2 weeks. Other CP churches had services last Sunday, but they will cancel services this Sunday.
  • In MEXICO, we have been told that there are three phases of this pandemic, phase 1 is the least risky and phase 3 will be the hardest. We are still in phase 1, where we can continue with our meetings not exceeding a thousand people, we can have services while maintaining basic care measures such as: applying antibacterial gel before entering, avoiding handshakes, hugs and kisses; and if you have flu symptoms it is better to stay home. Some churches have decided voluntarily to stop their activities, but it is not yet mandatory by the government.
  • HONG KONG/MACAU – Most churches have voluntarily suspended services and events, a few have not. Some have an online Sunday service.
  • LYON FRANCE – by law we cannot meet and if we go out, we must carry a written document saying why we went out. We are only allowed to go to pharmacies and grocery stores near home. Fines range from 135 euros depending on the distance from the home address. We are meeting online at a specific time to pray and read the word and intercede for the affected countries and for brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • USA – Most churches have voluntarily suspended services and events, a few have not. In a few cities the government has suspended worship services for all churches.
  • AUSTRALIA – Same as USA. Most of churches in Sydney voluntarily suspended services and activities because the government asked to suspend worship services or group activities for all churches. We can not use the church hall or other rooms for worship services or activities because Uniting church suspended to use the church. So we try to gather in my places for a Sunday worship and Wednesday pray meetings.


  1. Are schools open?
  • LAOS – No.
  • CAMBODIA – No.
  • COLOMBIA – The country has canceled classes until April 20th. Students have work to do at home during this time.
  • GUATEMALA – All the schools and universities are closed until new orders.
  • BELIZE – Closing in two days (March 20)
  • In BRAZIL, specifically in the state of Bahia whose capital is Salvador and in the municipality of Mata de São João where the two churches are located, the state and municipal government, they have suspended classes in universities and public and private schools for 30 days so far.
  • PHILIPPINES – All schools are closed from March 16 to March 31. March is a month for graduation and all graduations are canceled.
  • MEXICO – Some universities have also voluntarily decided to stop, all schools will have their last day of school on Friday the 20th and they will have a month of quarantine.
  • HONG KONG/MACAU – All schools and universities are closed since late January and will remain closed until at least 20 April.
  • FRANCE – Schools and universities are closed.
  • USA – Schools and universities are closed for several weeks, and that time may be extended
  • AUSTRALIA – yes until this week but they will have a earlier vacation or internet study.


  1. Are citizens required to stay in their homes?
  • LAOS – No.
  • CAMBODIA – No.
  • COLOMBIA – People are encouraged to stay home. Some have been sent home from work or working from home. Things like movie theaters are closing. In some cities, we have been asked not to go to parks and a curfew has been set from 8PM-5AM where you should be home.
  • GUATEMALA – Social distancing is practiced, and a strong emphasis is placed on staying at home, especially those over 60, but a curfew has not yet been applied. Shopping centers, cinemas, amusement parks, restaurants, many public and private companies have closed.
  • BELIZE – No
  • BRAZIL – The idea of closing educational establishments is in order to avoid crowding and that they stay at home with their families, teleworking and virtual study is being promoted. All public transportation will be suspended until further government order.
  • PHILIPPINES – We can go outside for work and personal businesses except for curfew from 8 PM to 5 AM. Those who work within the curfew hours and essential persons can stay outside. Curfew is implemented until April 14 and it may be extended. All shopping malls are closed from today except supermarkets, banks, pharmacies inside the malls.
  • MEXICO – Until now it is only a suggestion and many jobs, companies and restaurants continue with their normal activities
  • HONG KONG/MACAU – Hong Kong government closed some of the non-emergency service and encouraged private sector employers to allow their employees to work from home. Macau government is at the same measure, but they also closed all public places including museums, parks, hiking trails, etc. to prevent any gathering.
  • FRANCE – The rules established in France regulated a fine for those who leave without authorization, most companies are working (telework) and the cleaning companies like we work are closed but they have not notified how their salary condition will be defined.
  • US – People are encouraged to practice social distancing and many businesses and restaurants are closed, but most US citizens are not forced to stay in their homes.
  • AUSTRALIA– The government to urge people to stay home not travelling or go meetings. Most people working at home. So many people lost their jobs.


  1. Are hospitals being overrun?
  • LAOS – No.
  • CAMBODIA – No.
  • COLOMBIA – No. Each state has set up a hotline. They are asking if you think you might have the virus to stay home and contact the number.
  • GUATEMALA – Private hospitals are not, but public hospitals are always over run since Guatemala does not have a good public health system.
  • BELIZE – There are no confirmed cases in Belize. A few self-quarantines. However, there is only ONE ventilator in the public health sector so if you are going to be sick you want to the be first one because after that . . .
  • BRAZIL – At this moment, no.
  • PHILIPPINES – There are suspected COVID-19 patients and the number of patients under monitoring is increasing. There is no confirmed case yet in Iloilo City. Hospitals are not being overrun. There are no testing kits in Iloilo, so we suspect there might be unreported COVID-19 patients in Iloilo City and Iloilo Province.
  • MEXICO – No
  • FRANCE – Yes, it has been declared through the government as a health war, we are experiencing a kind of social chaos.
  • USA – No, but with a few exceptions in New York and San Francisco.
  • AUSTRALIA – Not yet


  1. Are there mandatory travel restrictions?
  • LAOS – Suspended visa on arrival for all nationals.
  • CAMBODIA – All entertainment places, museums and suspended all religion gatherings.
  • COLOMBIA – Only internationally from certain countries. If it is not a restricted country, they ask you to quarantine yourself for 14 days. Some airlines have canceled international flights.
  • GUATEMALA – Public transportation has been suspended, both urban and inter-city, the boarders are closed to foreigners.
  • BELIZE – None presently.
  • BRAZIL – In the state of Bahia, there are restrictions on not allowing land exits or entrances to municipalities such as Salvador, Feria de Santana, Puerto Seguro, because there are several cases detected in these municipalities. The same happens in cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. From Salvador to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have been suspended. Gol airlines suspended international flights between March 23 and June 30 to the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, the United States, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Suriname and Uruguay.
  • PHILIPPINES – Yes. All flights to and from Manila are canceled until April 14. Iloilo City government put Iloilo City on lockdown today until April 14, so there are travel restrictions to Iloilo from neighboring provinces and vice versa.
  • MEXICO – There are many people standing at the airport without being able to travel to their countries of origin, a moment ago the closure of the border with the United States became official.
  • HONG KONG/MACAU has begun a mandatory two-week quarantine for anyone arriving from mainland China since early February and expanded to all other countries from mid-March, in a fresh effort to contain the deadly new coronavirus. Visitors must isolate themselves in hotel rooms or government-run centers. Residents must stay inside their homes.
  • FRANCE – Yes, the boarders are closed and also international transportation.
  • USA – No, but many flights are canceled, amusement parks and vacation areas are closed and there are no large gatherings
  • AUSTRALIA– Yes but not fully restricted.
Matthew Gore

Matthew Gore

Matthew H. Gore is a British journalist, historian, popular culturist, archivist, and educator residing in Memphis, Tennessee. He is the immediate past-president of the Society of Tennessee Archivists and is best known for his book The History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Kentucky to 1988 (2000). He has also published on a variety of topics as diverse as The Origin of Marvelman (a British superhero of the 1950s and 1960s), the relative scarcity of East German philatelics, and the biography of British pulp artist, Denis McLoughlin. He is employed by the Ministry Council of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at the Cumberland Presbyterian Center in Memphis, Tennessee, as editor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Magazine and as publications manager. He has been associated with both Western Kentucky University, which honored him with their James H. Poteet Award, and the University of Kentucky. He also serves as editor for all Boardman Books (Memphis, Tennessee) publications.
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