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Over 30 trainee Buddhist priests infected with COVID at Kyoto temple

Chion-in, the head temple of Jodo-shu Buddhist sect, is seen in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward in this file photo. (Mainichi)

KYOTO -- More than half of 68 trainee priests have apparently been infected with the coronavirus at Chion-in, the head temple of the Jodo-shu Buddhist sect in Japan, the denomination announced on Dec. 13.

    The trainees were in their final stage of preparations to become monks, which are conducted in December every year. According to Jodo-shu, the program began at the temple in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward on Dec. 4, and participants were slated to undergo sessions for three weeks including chanting mantras and receiving lectures. One trainee developed a fever on the night of Dec. 6, and the Buddhist branch had all participants take PCR tests and go home on Dec. 8. More than 30 people were confirmed infected.

    The 68 trainees and their instructors underwent PCR tests the day before the sessions started, and all tested negative. While they were staying over at the temple and eating together, they were reportedly taking measures against infections such as spacing out their futons to avoid close contact.

    (Japanese original by Yoko Minami, Kyoto Bureau)

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