Malaysia records first Covid-19 death from Sulawesi tabligh event, total death toll now 63

G. Prakash
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah giving a press conference at the Health Ministry in Putrajaya, April 4, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah announced today 171 new Covid-19 cases in the country, with one new death involving a man who had attended the religious “tabligh” gathering in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

He said since the start of the outbreak, the total number of positive Covid-19 cases now stands at 3,963.

“The latest casualty was a 71-year-old man who had attended a religious gathering in Sulawesi, Indonesia from March 17 to March 24.

“He died at the Enche’ Besar Hajjah Khalsom Hospital in Kluang, Johor,” he said during a press conference today. 

This brings the death toll to 63, or 1.6 per cent of the total Covid-19 cases, and the nationwide death toll from the virus to 63.

Dr Noor Hisham said 80 new recoveries were reported today bringing the total number of patients discharged to 1321. 

He added that a total of 2,579 people are still being treated at hospitals nationwide, 92 of whom are in intensive care units.

He said of the 92 cases, 54 of them are on ventilators. 

About 80 to 100 Malaysians were believed to have attended the 2020 World Ijtimak Asian Zone event held last month at Gowa, near the southern Sulawesi city of Makassar. 

Authorities later decided to postpone the event following public backlash. The postponement was announced by the head of Gowa regency Adnan Purichta Ichsan.

The movement behind the gathering in Indonesia also hosted an event in Malaysia from February 27 to March 1 that drew 16,000 followers and led to at least 670 coronavirus infections confirmed to date.

Photos and videos of the Indonesian gathering posted on social media showed huge crowds of men sitting close together in a huge tent.