Tuesday Mar, 31 2020 06:10:36 PM

21 of 215 Filipino Muslims in Malaysia event tested positive of Covid-19

Breaking News • 10:30 AM Mon Mar 23, 2020
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By: 
FERDINANDH B. CABRERA

COTABATO CITY  - The National Commission of Muslim Filipino (NCMF) in Region-12 has confirmed that 21 out of 215 Filipino are still being held for quarantine and medication in Malaysia after outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic hit the gathering of Islamic missionaries in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Director Mama Sinsuat of NCMF-12 said in a phone interview that he was informed by the Malaysian Health Ministry that the remaining 19 Filipino Tablighs who were found positive of the virus were not allowed to travel. Two of them returned home to Mindanao where they were found positive of the virus while undergoing medication in the island. 

“There was no clearance given to them to go back home because medical examination showed they were positive of Covid-19,” he said.

A total of 215 Filipino Muslims attended the "Tabligh" (Islamic preachers) gathering from February 27 to March 1 at the Jamek Sri Petaling Mosque near Kuala Lumpur. Of this number, 115 Tablighs were from Lanao del Sur including Marawi City, and 100 from Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and other parts of the country.

Two of the Filipino Muslims who attended the gathering and managed to return home were found positive of Covid-19. One of them died in Marawi a week ago. Another is confined in Cotabvato City.

Malaymail, a Malaysian newspaper, earlier reported that 513 Malaysians who attended the gathering tested positive of the virus.

The tabligh gathering drew around 16,000 participants from different countries, 14,500 of them Malaysians.

As of now, only 14 names out of 194, who managed to return home, are identified by the NCMF.

“We are going to submit these names to the local government units in Bangsamoro region to that they could help us in contact tracing them and their families,” he said.

Sinsuat admitted that they have difficulty tracing the rest of Tabligh attendees because the event was “informal” in nature and there was no coordination by the Tabligh group with NCMF about their activity abroad.

He admitted that even the head of the delegation remained unidentified and has not coordinated with his office as of yet.

Sinsuat also revealed that the Tabligh missionaries used the so called "Southern backdoor" in coming to Malaysia using Tawi-Tawi and Palawan.

The NCMF has submitted the list of Tablighs present in Malaysia gathering to different local government units for the Inter-Agency Task Forces to locate them.

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