Self-described apostle Brian Tamaki of Destiny Church says prayer will protect worshippers from the coronavirus outbreak.
While New Zealand doesn't have any reported cases of community transmission yet, a number of big events have been cancelled, such as sporting events and concerts. Overseas governments are moving to ban large gatherings altogether, but Tamaki is urging followers to attend a 'national day of prayer' at his church in Wiri, south Auckland.
"We will be Holding A National Day of Prayer Tomorrow for The Covid-19 Virus [sic]", the controversial church leader wrote on Twitter.
"We Believe Gods Help is important and as i have stated Ps 91:9-10 would be good to Read,Pray and Declare..Its our Protection and it can be Yours To [sic]."
Health experts say the best defence against contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is to avoid close contact with people and avoid large gatherings, as well as regular hand-washing.
"Do all that The World Health Organization requires for common sense safety..but do try nd Read Ps 91 in The Bible," Tamaki wrote. "Its Gods Solution to all Plagues and Pestilences that try to invade your Family and House [sic]."
Tamaki has previously claimed earthquakes were the result of homosexuality and that he once spoke to a $100 bill, and that's why he's never had money issues.
US President Donald Trump has also declared Sunday a national day of prayer in the US, with the virus
"We are a Country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these," Trump tweeted. "No matter where you may be, I encourage you to turn towards prayer in an act of faith. Together, we will easily PREVAIL!"
The US has had 2500 confirmed cases of the disease and 55 deaths, though there are reports the true numbers could be much higher, with limited testing facilities and high costs putting people off.
A week ago there were fewer than 500 cases in the US.