Local church group stranded in Bethlehem hotel because of coronavirus risk

Local church group stranded in Bethlehem hotel because of coronavirus risk

Local church group stranded in Bethlehem hotel because of coronavirus risk
Courtesy: Tanner Gilliland | News Source: mynbc15.com

Members of a local church are stranded in Bethlehem because of the coronavirus.

The lead pastor of 3Circle Church in Fairhope, Chris Bell, and a flock of a dozen other spiritual leaders from the Mobile area, traveled to the holy land for inspiration and relaxation.

"We were being told by all of the authorities we talked to that Israel and the Palestine area was two of the safest places in the world when it comes to the coronavirus. And if you look back, it really was. There was hardly any cases in the entire region," Bell said.

But that changed on day twelve of their adventure in a small town near Bethlehem.

Bell says a couple of hotel employees also have the virus, but so far no member of his group has shown symptoms.

What came next was a directive by local health authorities to stay in their rooms. A quick call to the US embassy confirmed that directive. Bell praises the locals, saying the community is working to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

"But we are told we can't leave, and we're not being given a lot more information from the health authorities or the Israelis or our embassy, very much. They are taking our calls and keep telling us they are working on things, but not much beyond that," Bell said.

Bell says he knows they could be awaiting another quarantine when they return to the United States, and they're OK with that. Until then, he has a message for those awaiting their return.

"And to my congregation and my family and friends in the area, we just love you guys and we want to get home to you as soon as we can," Bell said.