YANGON, Myanmar 

A court in the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar on Thursday sentenced a Canadian preacher to three months in prison for organizing church services in defiance of a coronavirus pandemic ban.

David Lah, a Canadian preacher of Burmese origin, and one of his followers were charged in late May under Myanmar’s natural disaster management law after the church services he organized allegedly helped spread of COVID-19 to more than 80 people, the largest cluster found so far in the country.

Maung Soe, a judge at Yangon’s Mayangone Township court, told reporters that each of them was given a three-month hard labor sentence on Thursday.

As of Thursday, Myanmar has reported a total of 357 COVID-19 cases with 289 recoveries and six deaths.

Many businesses have returned to normal since late July after Myanmar eased restrictions on domestic movements following the steady decline of confirmed cases over the past few weeks.

But restriction for international travelers with a ban on all international flights into the country’s airports has been extended until the end of August.

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