2020 Tablighi Jamaat COVID-19 hotspot in Malaysia

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2020 Tablighi Jamaat COVID-19 hotspot in Malaysia
Date27 February–1 March 2020
VenueMasjid Jamek Sri Petaling
Location Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
TypeReligious congregation
ParticipantsAt least 16,000 people
(MOH estimation) [1]
12,500 people only
(Leaders of the Sri Petaling tabligh group claim) [2]
OutcomeBiggest cluster during the second wave of COVID-19 in Malaysia with 3,375 positive cases
Deaths34 [3]

A Tablighi Jamaat religious conference that took place at the "Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling" in Kuala Lumpur's Sri Petaling district between 27 February to 1 March 2020 became a COVID-19 super-spreader event with more than 3,300 cases being linked to the event. [4] [5] By 19 May 2020, the Malaysian Director-General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah confirmed that 48% of the country's COVID-19 cases (3,347) had been linked to the Kuala Lumpur Tablighi Jamaat cluster. [6] Additionally, nearly 10% of attendees were overseas visitors, causing COVID-19 to spread to other countries in Southeast Asia. [7] On 8 July 2020, this cluster was declared over by the Ministry of Health. [8]

Contents

Although much more widespread, the Tabligh event was not the first wave of coronavirus in Malaysia. [9]

Event

Between 27 February and 1 March 2020, the Tablighi Jamaat movement organised an international conference at the "Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling" in Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. [10] The religious gathering was attended by approximately 16,000 attendees (only 12,500 attendees as claimed by the Sri Petaling tabligh group leaders) [11] including about 1,500 from outside Malaysia. [1] Attendees were found to share food, sit close together, and hold hands at the event. According to guests, the leaders of the event did not talk about COVID-19 precautions, but most attendees washed their hands during the event. Malaysian authorities were criticised for allowing the event to go forward. [10]

Spread

The Sri Petaling Tablighi Jamaat gathering has been linked to more than 620 COVID-19 cases in March 2020, making it the largest-known centre of transmission of the virus in Southeast Asia at that time. [10] [5] At least seven countries have traced their cases back to the Malaysia event; most of the 73 COVID-19 cases in Brunei have been linked to the event, as well as 22 in Cambodia, 13 in Indonesia, [12] 10 in Thailand, 5 in Singapore, 2 in the Philippines, [13] and 2 in Vietnam. [14] [15] [4]

By 13 March, the Malaysian Ministry of Health had revised the number of Malaysian Tablighi Jamaat participants from 5,000 to 14,500, raising concerns that more positive cases could be discovered. [16] Of the 14,500 participants, 41 tested positive for COVID-19, which brought the total number of cases in Malaysia to 238. [17] [18] By 17 March, the Sri Petaling event had resulted in the biggest increase in COVID-19 cases in Malaysia, with almost two-thirds of the 673 confirmed cases in Malaysia linked to this event. [10]

On 29 March, Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah announced that the Tabligh cluster had reached the fifth generation. [19] By 19 May, Noor Hisham confirmed that 48% of Malaysia's COVID-19 cases (3,347) had been linked to the Sri Petaling tabligh cluster. [6]

Aftermath

The Sri Petaling Tablighi Jamaat gathering coincided with a domestic political crisis that had been triggered by the resignation of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed on 24 February, which led to the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan coalition government and the resignation of Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad. Before the formation of a new Perikatan Nasional government under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on 1 March, the Health Ministry would not have a minister for over two weeks until the appointment of Adham Baba on 10 March. During that time, there was only advice from the Health Ministry to minimise public exposure. [10] [20]

In response to a rapid rise in cases, Malaysian health authorities on 11 March began tracking around 5,000 Malaysian citizens who were suspected of being exposed to COVID-19 during the Sri Petaling Tablighi Jamaat gathering. [1] [21] Many of the infected had returned to their respective states and communities, which had led to a surge in community transmissions throughout Malaysia. [1] [22] [23]

In mid-April, Adham criticized the former PH Government's handling of the Sri Petaling Tabligh Jamaat cluster. [20] In response, Dzulkefy defended the PH Government's preparations for COVID-19 and suggested that Prime Minister Muhyiddin, the former Home Affairs Minister, was responsible for the outbreak since public gatherings like the Tabligh Jamaat would have come under his portfolio. [24]

By late 2020, a Top Glove factory become the largest cluster of COVID-19 to date after Tablighi Jamaat, reporting more than 7,000 cases in Malaysia. [25] [26] [27]

Stigmatization

There have been reports of viral infections being blamed on other communities. Indonesian spread has been blamed on weak government regulations on Chinese workers and tourists, and Tablighi Jamaat for the Malaysian outbreak. Chinese community members have also engaged in religious and racial profiling following the spread linked to the Tablighi cluster. Rohingyas have also been targeted and accused of spreading COVID-19. [28] [29]

See also

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 3 4 Barker, Anne (19 March 2020). "Coronavirus COVID-19 cases spiked across Asia after a mass gathering in Malaysia. This is how it caught the countries by surprise". ABC News . Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  2. "Tabligh leader claims only 12,500 attended Sri Petaling gathering, not 16,000". Malaysiakini. 22 March 2020. Archived from the original on 1 June 2021. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  3. Health, DG of (8 July 2020). "Kenyataan Akhbar KPK 8 Julai 2020 – Situasi Semasa Jangkitan Penyakit Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) di Malaysia". From the Desk of the Director-General of Health Malaysia. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  4. 1 2 Beech, Hannah (20 March 2020). "None of Us Have a Fear of Corona': The Faithful at an Outbreak's Center". New York Times. Archived from the original on 26 March 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  5. 1 2 "Despite Covid-19 threat, thousands of Muslim pilgrims gather in Indonesia". The Star . 18 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  6. 1 2 "48% of nation's Covid-19 cases linked to Sri Petaling tabligh event". The Sun . 19 May 2020. Archived from the original on 19 May 2020. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  7. Che Mat, Nor Fazila; Edinur, Hisham Atan; Abdul Razab, Mohammad Khairul Azhar; Safuan, Sabreena (18 May 2020). "A single mass gathering resulted in massive transmission of COVID-19 infections in Malaysia with further international spread". Journal of Travel Medicine. 27 (3). doi: 10.1093/jtm/taaa059 . PMC   7188142 . PMID   32307549.
  8. Health, DG of (8 July 2020). "Kenyataan Akhbar KPK 8 Julai 2020 – Situasi Semasa Jangkitan Penyakit Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) di Malaysia" [DG Press Statement 8 July 2020 – Current Situation of Coronavirus Infection 2019 (COVID-19) in Malaysia]. From the Desk of the Director-General of Health Malaysia (in Malay). Archived from the original on 28 May 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  9. Ng, Chris Fook Sheng; Seposo, Xerxes T.; Moi, Meng Ling; Tajudin, Muhammad Abdul Basit Ahmad; Madaniyazi, Lina; Sahani, Mazrura (1 December 2020). "Characteristics of COVID-19 epidemic and control measures to curb transmission in Malaysia". International Journal of Infectious Diseases. 101: 409–411. doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2020.10.027. hdl: 10069/40422 . ISSN   1201-9712. PMC   7567666 . PMID   33075527.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 "How Mass Pilgrimage at Malaysian Mosque Became Coronavirus Hotspot". Reuters . 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 4 April 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  11. "Tabligh leader claims only 12,500 attended Sri Petaling gathering, not 16,000". Malaysiakini. 22 March 2020. Archived from the original on 1 June 2021. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  12. Yasmin, Nur (20 March 2020). "Thirteen Indonesians Contract Covid-19 at Malaysia's Tabligh Islamic Gathering". Jakarta Globe. Archived from the original on 11 April 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  13. Cabrera, Ferdinandh B. (23 March 2020). "19 Filipino tablighs positive for COVID-19 quarantined in Malaysia". Minda News. Archived from the original on 5 April 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  14. Le, Chi (18 March 2020). "Another Malaysia returnee tests Covid-19 positive". VnExpress. Archived from the original on 5 April 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  15. Sukumaran, Tashny (19 March 2020). "How the coronavirus spread at Malaysia's tabligh Islamic gathering". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 5 April 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  16. Ram, Sadho (13 March 2020). "MOH Reveals That Over 14,500 Malaysians Attended The Sri Petaling Mosque Tabligh Assembly". Says.com. Archived from the original on 14 March 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  17. Latiff, Rozanna; Bandial, Ain; Ananthalakshmi, A.; Donovan, Kirsten (14 March 2020). "Malaysia reports 41 new cases of coronavirus, most linked to religious event". Reuters . Archived from the original on 15 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  18. Arumugam, Tharanya (14 March 2020). "14,500 M'sians at 'tabligh' gathering, 40 test positive for Covid-19". New Straits Times . Archived from the original on 14 March 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  19. Asyraf Hasnan, Harits (29 March 2020). "Kluster jemaah tabligh COVID-19 memasuki generasi kelima" [COVID-19 Tabligh cluster entering fifth generation]. Astro Awani (in Malay). Archived from the original on 5 April 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  20. 1 2 Ram, Sadho (19 April 2020). "Fact-Checking Dr Adham Baba's Claim That PH Failed To Contain The Tabligh Cluster". Says.com. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  21. Sipalan, Joseph; Richardson, Alex (11 March 2020). "Malaysia tracking 5,000 people possibly exposed to coronavirus at religious event". Reuters . Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  22. Latiff, Rozanna; Aravindan, Aradhana; Bandial, Ain; Birsel, Robert (12 March 2020). "Twelve coronavirus cases linked to Malaysian Islamic conference". Reuters . Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  23. "Malaysia confirms first sporadic case of coronavirus, indicating community spread". The Straits Times . 12 March 2020. Archived from the original on 9 August 2020. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  24. Hakim, Akmal (19 April 2020). "After 'Warm Water Method', Health Minister Reportedly Had Video Conference With "500 Countries"". The Rakyat Post . Archived from the original on 19 August 2020. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  25. Lee, Rozanna Latiff, Liz (23 November 2020). "Malaysia to shut some Top Glove factories in phases amid virus outbreak". Reuters. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  26. Roundup, Kini (25 November 2020). "Teratai cluster now M'sia's largest ever, and other news you may have missed". Malaysiakini. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  27. Ravindran, Ashswita (12 March 2021). "Four Months On, Malaysia's Largest Teratai Cluster Still Active". CodeBlue. Archived from the original on 12 March 2021. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  28. "'We are all afraid': Rohingya face growing hostility in Malaysia as coronavirus crisis deepens". ABC News . Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 26 April 2020. Archived from the original on 20 April 2021. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  29. Idris, Ika Karlina; Jalli, Nuurrianti. "How blaming others dominates Indonesian and Malaysian twitterspheres during COVID-19 pandemic". The Conversation . Archived from the original on 17 July 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2020.

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