Group from Mobile’s 3Circle Church quarantined in Palestinian hotel

Group from Mobile’s 3Circle Church quarantined in Palestinian hotel

(updated March 10, 12:55 p.m.)

A group from Mobile’s 3Circle Church that was quarantined in a Palestinian hotel after a coronavirus scare made it back home this morning (March 10), according to a statement on the church’s Facebook page.

The group of 13 — including Pastor Chris Bell, most of the executive team and other key staff members — were quarantined March 5 at the Angel Hotel in Bethlehem after a report that another hotel guest tested positive for coronavirus. Originally they were told they would be quarantined for 14 days, but after testing negative for the virus on March 9, they were allowed to leave early.

Now that they are back in Mobile, they are undergoing a voluntary, medically supervised quarantine, according to the statement.

“Continuing the precautionary measures begun in Palestine, Pastor Chris and team have chosen to complete a medically-supervised quarantine. None of the team will participate in any church activities this coming Sunday. They will be released from quarantine only under direct medical supervision,” the statement said. “We uphold the highest concern, not just for ourselves, but for the health and morale of our communities.”

The ordeal began when the group left March 1 for a tour of Holy Land sites. They landed in Israel on March 3, spending the night at the Angel Hotel in Bethlehem, which is located in the West Bank, a Palestinian territory.

Late the next day, the group got word that a tourist who had stayed at the hotel the previous week tested positive for coronavirus after arriving back in his home country of Greece. After a hotel employee also tested positive for the virus, the 3Circle group was eventually brought back to the hotel to be quarantined. At least seven members of hotel staff tested positive for the virus. (Grace Thornton)