The Ministry of Health was not aware of the Jamek Sri Petaling Mosque tabligh congregation, until its counterpart in Brunei confirmed that its first Covid-19 patient had attended the event, director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.
In a press conference here, he said MOH had only found out about the tabligh programme on March 9.
“We were informed on March 9 that a tabligh congregation member was involved in the gathering, and who had attended the mosque, from my comrade in Brunei. We didn’t even know there was a tabligh congregation involving 16,000 people.
“When one was tested positive, we immediately conducted contact tracing on the tabligh gathering participants,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said that the programme, which involved participants from 25 nations, was attended by 695 Indonesians.
“So we are worried that there may be a possibility that the spread of this Covid -19, was imported from overseas,” he said, adding that to date, there have been no reports of cases from other social gatherings.
He said MOH has traced 11,000 of the local tabligh programme attendees out of 14,500 and sampling has been done for almost 6,700 people.
Earlier, Dr Noor Hisham announced that another death has been recorded today, just hours after an earlier report of a doctor succumbing to the virus infection.
He said that the 10th death case involves a Malaysian man, aged 74, from the tabligh cluster, who is Case 259.
He said that the man was admitted to the Penang Hospital on March 13 and subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 on March 14.
Dr Noor Hisham said that Malaysia currently has 1,306 Covid-19 cases, out of which 62 per cent, or 820 cases involved members from the Sri Petaling Mosque’s tabligh group.