Still no info on remaining Malaysians from Sulawesi tabligh congregation, MOH says

Syed Jaymal Zahiid

Health Director-General Datuk Noor Hisham Abdullah said authorities are still seeking out the remaining Malaysians who attended a mass religious gathering in Sulawesi. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, March 26 — The authorities are still seeking out the remaining Malaysians who attended a mass religious gathering in Sulawesi, Indonesia, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said today.

Only 11 of them had returned and were found in Tawau, Sabah, five days ago trying to enter via a boat. About 80 to 100 Malaysians were believed to have attended the 2020 World Ijtimak Asian Zone event held last week.

“We still have no information apart from those in Tawau,” the ministry’s director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah told a media briefing here.

The explosion of a second wave of infections traced to a similar gathering in Sri Petaling earlier this month has caused concern that the Sulawesi gathering would trigger fresh cases.

Dr Noor Hisham said over half of the 2,031 cases in Malaysia, are linked to the Sri Petaling gathering, said to be attended by some 16,000 people.

This comes as Dr Noor Hisham said the Covid-19 infections have spread up to five generations in the tabligh cluster, complicating detection of the source of infection.

“If we look at the tabligh event cluster alone, let’s say it has 711 index cases, which then infected their family members.

“This is the first generation. The infection was then spread from family members to their neighbours, who in turn infected their friends.

“We found that there are already five generations of Covid-19 infection. It has spread five times,” he said.

To date 13,762 attendees from the event have been tested, with 55 per cent of them being positive, Dr Noor Hisham said.

9,327 samples tested positive, 3,646 samples were negative while 2,564 are still pending, the MOH official said.

The 11 Malaysians who attended the gathering in Sulawesi have also been screened and are currently under quarantined.

Dr Noor Hisham said the results are still pending.

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