GAPYEONGIN                 -              Thousands of couples have attended a mass wedding held by the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, also known as the Unification Church in South Korea.

The ceremony was held at the Cheongshim Peace World Centre in Gapyeongin near the capital Seoul despite fears the event could help spread the coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan in China.

South Korea has confirmed 24 cases of the coronavirus - the latest a South Korean airlifted from Wuhan last week. Some of the couples wore masks for the ceremony but not everyone saw a mask as a necessary precaution. Nearly 6,000 people from more than 60 countries were married at the event. Such events have been a feature of the Unification Church since the 1960s.

Attendees were checked for coronavirus symptoms. Other large-scale events in South Korea have been cancelled. The church did however ban couples from China from attending. The Unification Church handed out face masks to the 30,000-strong crowd - but not everyone wore them.