The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has infected more than 73,000 people globally and killed at least 1,875 since last year. Health officials are treating the epidemic as a global emergency but many have claimed the coronavirus is a much more sinister danger.

The novel coronavirus strain emerged in China’s Wuhan City last December and conspiracy theorists have flooded the internet with biblical prophecies of the end times.

Christian fundamentalists have bizarrely linked the epidemic to prophecies in the last book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation.

Coronavirus has been likened to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as well as cataclysms that will supposedly strike before the end of the world and the Messiah’s second coming.

Twitter user Alchemo A. Lozano said: “@kershaw_martin The Four Horsemen of Apocalypse representing War, Famine, Pestilence and Death as depicted in the Bible on Revelation 6:2-8 are most likely causing this coronavirus worldwide. We don’t see them but we can feel their wrath everywhere.”

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Charity Mukaba said: “We can no longer continue watching news as though we don’t read the Bible.

“When you see breaking news about coronavirus, locusts and ebola.

“Understand the times. Distress has hit the Earth. Prepare and escape the wrath of god that is coming #PrepareYeNations”

Another Twitter account, called Jesus is the Only Way to Heaven, said: “Within six weeks, Coronavirus death toll has hit 1,666 and is continuing to rise.

“Bible warns there will be major pestilences in the last days. This is only the beginning of what is to come.

“We must not fear but continually abide in Christ through trials and tribulations.”

We can no longer continue watching news as though we don’t read the Bible

Charity Mukaba on Twitter

Many online have pointed to Revelation Chapter 6 as evidence of the unfolding biblical prophecy.

The scripture describes the events at the end of the world when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse descend upon the land.

Revelation 6: 8 reads: “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his named that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.

“And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”

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As panic over the coronavirus spreads around the internet, an American pastor has claimed God will protect his children from the epidemic.

Pastor Hank Kunneman spoke during a service in Omaha, Nebraska, where he said God will “give mercy” to the US.

He said: “Listen to the words that I speak to you at this moment, says the living God. Why do you fear, United States?

“For I have spoken to you before and I will speak to you again, I have extended and opened a window of mercy to this nation at this time.

“Therefore, the virus that they speak of, the bright prognostication, the diagnosis, the fear, my mercy is the quarantine that shall be greater than what they have spoken to you, United States.”

There is, however, no evidence of the coronavirus epidemic being anything more than a natural outbreak.

The coronavirus family of pathogens has already been responsible for the outbreak of two devastating diseases in the past.

Between 2002 and 2003, the SARS-CoV strain of coronavirus killed about 800 people and infected more than 8,000.

Then in 2012, another novel strain of coronavirus emerged in the Middle East( MERS-CoV) and has killed hundreds since.

In both cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the coronaviruses were spread to humans by carrier animals.

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