In a Facebook post on Thursday (12 March), Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affair Masagos Zulkifli revealed that the Ministry of Health (MOH) is investigating and tracking 95 Singaporeans who reportedly attended a religious event in Malaysia as they could be infected with the deadly coronavirus.
He said that a number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 have been detected from the event, which apparently happened at a mosque in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur from 27 February to 1 March.
“We must also be vigilant in carrying our religious practices. I am concerned to hear that there were several COVID-19 cases confirmed, arising from a mass religious gathering in Malaysia,” Mr Masagos said.
He added, “It was reported that 95 Singaporeans had attended the event, Ministry of Health, Singapore is in the midst of investigating and identifying the Singaporean attendees.”
The Jhor Qadamak Malaysia 2020 event took place at the Seri Petaling Mosque in Selangor, and Malaysia’s health ministry reported that roughly 10,000 people from various countries attended the event, including Singapore.
On Thursday, Malaysia asked for all mass gatherings to be postponed after at least 12 cases of COVID-19 were linked to the gathering.
The Edge Market reported that contract tracing of 5,000 of Malaysian citizens who attended the event is currently being conducted after one of the attendees became Brunei’s first confirmed case. The Ministry said in the statement that the 53-year-old Brunei national attended the same event at the mosque.
As for the 95 Singaporeans who took part at the religious function, they were part of more than 1,500 foreign attendees, which included nearly 700 Indonesians and more than 200 Filipinos, the Malaysian media stated.
“If you were there, please get yourself checked by a doctor – protect your loved ones and those around you. For those who are unwell, please seek medical attention immediately,” Mr Masagos explained
He added that the Muslim community in Singapore has taken “much effort” to adjust its religious practices during this challenging times.
“For example, many are refraining from out usual handshake or ‘salam’ and instead are adopting what I call the ‘Mufti Salam’, where one places his hand on his chest to convey his greetings,” said Mr Masagos, who is also the Environment and Water Resource Minister.
He went on to point out that cleanliness and good hygiene is Singapore’s first line of defence against the virus, which is now labelled as pandemic. He also reemphasised the importance of using tissues when sneezing or coughing as well as refraining oneself from attending social gatherings when feeling under the weather.
“Let us continue to exercise social responsibility, be vigilant,” he wrote. “Together, we can overcome this challenge.”