On Friday, 13 March, 39 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Malaysia. It is the highest one-day spike on record in the country.
Despite the spike in confirmed cases recorded in a day, the situation here remains under control.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in the country has now reached 197 — with 164 cases currently being active including four in critical condition. 33 patients who were under treatment have made full recovery.
Almost all the new cases are linked to a four-day ijtimak tabligh gathering held at Jamek Sri Petaling Mosque in Kuala Lumpur.
The religious gathering was attended by over 14,500 Malaysians.
Held between 27 February to 1 March, roughly 16,000 people from various countries had attended the religious event, according to an investigation by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases of Malaysians from the tabligh gathering is now at 40.
Of the 40 cases, 15 are in Sabah, five in Penang, four in Negri Sembilan, four in Johor, three in Kelantan, two in Perak, two in Pahang, two in Kedah, two in Labuan, and one in Perlis.
The latest announcement from Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, however, doesn't mention the three cases in Sarawak that were reported yesterday and linked to the tabligh gathering.
Given the situation, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised the public to avoid mass gatherings including places of worship
The statement issued by MOH strongly urges that:
- The public is encouraged not to attend any gathering or go to crowded public places, including places of worship, particularly if unwell with symptoms of respiratory tract infection
- To postpone from organising any public events and activities to prevent and reduce the risk of further spread of the COVID-19 infection
- Constantly maintain a high level of personal hygiene, wash hands frequently with soap and water, or use hand sanitisers; and
- Seek early medical treatment if unwell with symptoms of respiratory tract infection e.g. fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing.
Meanwhile, in a special televised address, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that the government is postponing all mass gatherings
According to Muhyiddin, the government has banned all gatherings, including international meetings, sporting events, social, and religious assemblies until 30 April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, it appears that the directive doesn't apply to Friday prayers as they have not been suspended.
The Star reported that the Prime Minister said that prayers at mosques should follow the guidelines issued by Religious Affairs Minister Dr Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri.
"I hope that the Islamic religious authorities in all the states will also release similar guidelines in accordance with advisories from the Health Ministry," Muhyiddin said in the special televised address to the nation on Friday night, 13 March, as reported by New Straits Times.
"The religious events of other religions that are at a mass scale must also take into account advice and instructions from the Health Ministry from time to time," the Prime Minister added.