An expert is disappointed about Brian Tamaki's attitude towards coronavirus as the Destiny Church leader vows to keep its churches' doors open.
In a statement this morning, Tamaki said that Destiny Church "does not fear coronavirus" and will not be closing its churches.
"I'm not about to let a filthy virus scare us out of having church," he said.
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"To equate fear with common sense is nonsense. In a time when people are fearful, they need faith, hope, and the presence of God, so we will be keeping our churches open."
He added that Destiny Church will be upholding responsible practices, including washing hands and reducing hongis, hugs and kisses and encouraged people to stay home if they are sick.
Infectious diseases expert Dr Siouxsie Wiles said she was disappointed in Tamaki and other New Zealand public figure's attitude towards combating Covid-19.
"People like [Tamaki], former politicians, entrepreneurs are all coming out and saying all sorts of nonsense, rather than being supportive of how we're going to get through this," she told the Herald.
"Instead of [Tamaki] saying 'how can we help keep New Zealanders safe', he's just stating stuff when he actually does not know anything - and he is not the only the one."
Meanwhile, the Government hasn't made any strict rules about mass gatherings yet, which Wiles said comes down to the lack of evidence of community transmission.
But when the call is made for restrictions on mass gathering, she said Destiny Church would have to close its doors.
In the meantime, Wiles has advised those who are vulnerable, such as the elderly and immuno-compromised, to be more vigilant with precautions.
"What I am advising people now if they are in those vulnerable categories is that they start limiting their contact with others, which would mean things like not going to church."
Destiny Church's public services will carry on as normal, and where necessary people can watch via Livestream.
Tamaki added that it's the public's personal choice on whether or not they attend, but wanted people to know that Destiny Church is always open to them.
"At this time, with our nation facing economic repercussions, and employment uncertainty due to this virus, we do not want our people to feel alone or scared," he said.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said they would be making announcements on mass gatherings.
She said the Government would provide guidance for mass gatherings, and added that if an event was not ticketed, it was harder to trace people.