There was a four-day ijtimak tabligh gathering at Sri Petaling Jamek Mosque in Kuala Lumpur between 27 February to 1 March.
40 of the attendees have since tested positive for COVID-19.
The estimated number of Malaysians who attended the Sri Petaling Mosque tabligh gathering — initially thought to be around 5,000 Malaysians out of the total 10,000 — has now been tripled.
According to an investigation by the Ministry of Health (MOH), there were over 14,500 Malaysians out of the 16,000 total attendees, Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said earlier today.
Separately, Malaysiakini reported that the likely reason behind the spike in the estimated number of Malaysians at the event is because many of them did not register and walked into the congress.
Among the estimated 14,500 Malaysians attendees at the event, locals came from Perlis, Melak, Johor, Sabah, Sarawak, Perak, Kelantan, and Negeri Sembilan, Malaysiakini said in its report on 13 March, adding that it spoke to some of the people who had attended the ijtimak tabligh gathering.
Dr Noor Hisham detailed the new numbers in an infographic
Investigations so far have revealed nine new cases including three in Sarawak, the states' first COVID-19 case as of Friday, 13 March
While the investigation by MOH found six positive cases of Malaysians linked to the event. Of them, three are in Negeri Sembilan, while Sabah, Johor, and Pahang have one case each.
In addition to that, Sarawak recorded three confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of which, two were at the religious gathering, and one is a family member, according to Sarawak Disaster Information.
The numbers match the tally of the nine new cases that were announced on Thursday night. Total cases in the country remain at 158, out of which 32 have recovered, making the active cases a total of 126.
Testing facilities have been set at the Sri Petaling Mosque
Dr Noor Hisham said that while the mass screening is a mammoth and daunting task, officials from MOH have "full cooperation from all parties namely the participants, staff, and students".
"Our health officers from Lembah Pantai are supported by staff deployed from other states to trace and track all the participants. It's indeed a mammoth and daunting task, however, we need to prepare to share the responsibility as everyone can help to protect themselves and their communities," he added.
Meanwhile, reacting to the news about a Bruneian man at the tabligh gathering who became the first to test positive earlier this week, the mosque committee's deputy chairman Mohd Salleh Abd Mubin has reportedly tried to distance the mosque as being the source
According to Free Malaysia Today, Mohd Salleh said that he is not convinced about the event being the source of the Bruneian man's COVID-19 case as it has yet to be clinically proven by MOH.
"I don't want this to get out of control to the point that the mosque's name is tied to all sorts of perceptions. We do not even know if the person who tested positive was already infected before the convention or after or while travelling in a plane," he was quoted as saying by the English website yesterday.
As of this writing, the number of cases in Brunei has climbed to 25. All of them are linked to the Bruneian who attended the religious gathering at the mosque in Kuala Lumpur.
The Bruneian man's COVID-19 infection was confirmed on 9 March after he returned to his home country via Miri, Sarawak by taking AirAsia Flight AK5651.