About 800 youth members were supposed to attend the convention on the island of Mangaia next month.
The event that was scheduled to take place from April 19th to 26th is now postponed to the end of the year.
Church youth director Bob Williams said he had received a letter from Mangaia mayor Teremoana Atariki, through the island’s executive officer Anthony Whyte, to reconsider the dates of the event due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Concerns had been raised by the community at the number of people from overseas that were booked to arrive to the island for the convention.
Williams said: “For the safety of the people of Mangaia and its vulnerability, we have decided to postpone the convention to December 6th – 13th.”
Considering the new dates are during the busy festive period, he has acknowledged that flights to Mangaia during that time will definitely be an issue.
However, due to Te Maeva Nui festival and the Manea Games events already locked in, the month of December is the most plausible, he said.
Mangaia residents are pleased at the “very wise decision” to defer the convention.
A resident said: “There are many elderly people on Mangaia, and some do ail from toto vene (diabetes) which makes it more likely for them to get very sick; and some live alone with no immediate family to care for them.
“If the virus were to get here, it would also be hugely difficult for our Health staff to deal with as we have no respirators, no proper isolation facilities etc.”
A meeting took place on Mangaia last week with a delegation from Rarotonga including Secretary for the Ministry of Health Dr Josephine Herman. The meeting outlined plans to fight the coronavirus.