KOTA KINABALU: The Tabligh members from Sabah who attended an Islamic missionary gathering at a mosque in Seri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur on February 29 to March 5 have been advised to go for Covid-19 screening.
The advice was given by the health authorities after Sabah reported the first confirmed case in Tawau yesterday.
The patient was one of the participants of the religious gathering. Brunei also confirmed a Covid-19 positive patient who also attended the same meeting with about 10,000 participants from Malaysia and other countries.
Meanwhile, the biggest group of 118 participants from Kota Kinabalu had not undergone the health check yesterday.
Their leader (Syura), Monib Maguid @ Munir, said they had not done so because they did not experience nor exhibit any symptom.
“We met with the Ministry of Health, Kota Kinabalu branch, and they advised us to undergo health checking if there were members of the group who exhibited symptoms of Covid-19. Thankfully no members have exhibited symptoms as of now and no health checks have been conducted,” he said.
The rest of Sabah participants are from Sandakan (40), Lahad Datu (56), Tawau (50), Semporna (20), Beaufort (16), Labuan (15), Kunak (14), Tuaran (12), Kota Belud (nine), Papar (seven) and Keningau (one).
Already screened were 14 from Beaufort, seven in Papar, 12 in Tuaran and nine in Kota Belud.
Thirteen participants from Perak, who similarly returned from Sri Petaling, had also been screened in Kota Belud.
Tawau Hospital director Dr Norlimah Arsad said the screening is only for those with suspected Covid-19 and they are advised to go for the screening at Kubota Health Clinic.
District health officer Dr G. Navindran advised the 50 participants from Tawau with Covid-19 symptoms such as fever, coughing, chest pain and flu to go for screening at nearby government clinic.
For those without any symptoms, he said they need to contact Tawau Area Health Officer, Rahman Sampe at 016-4729314 for data gathering and presentation of quarantine order of 14 days in their home.
In Sandakan, 125 Tabligh members who attended the gathering were also asked to take the Covid-19 test.
Director of Duchess of Kent Hospital (HDOK), Dr Francis Paul said that the assessment would determine if they need to go to the hospital for screening.
“We also ask those who have symptoms of Covid-19 to come to the hospital immediately for screening. If they are not experiencing any symptom, they should practise social distancing for 14 days from the day they attended the gathering,” Paul said.
The Tabligh participants were also asked to fill in another form for the record of the Health Ministry and HDOK, and they would be explained on the requirement of self-quarantine for 14 days.
Meanwhile, HDOK has set up a screening centre for Person-Under-Investigation (PUI) cases.
“The centre is set up for PUI cases. We are now on alert and ready to accept any PUI cases,” said the director.
In Lahad Datu, 56 Tabligh members have been contacted for Covid 19 screening.
Their head of delegation, Ustaz Samsuali Marulla said some of them including himself had already been tested.
He urged the community here not to panic as none of them were tested positive for Covid 19.
“The other members have been informed and ready for the Covid-19 screening and some of us have been tested.
“It is hoped that the community will not panic and mature in facing this matter, especially for those who wish to isolate from the Tabligh members,” he added.
On Wednesday, the Health Ministry said the 131st case of Covid-19 reported was among the 10,000 who had attended the Islamic missionary gathering.
Earlier, the ministry said it was tracing more than 5,000 Malaysians believed to have participated in the gathering after Brunei alerted them that its first case of Covid-19 had attended the mass gathering.
Members of the Tabligh, a loose group of Muslim missionaries, hold their weekly congregation there.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the 131st case, a 58-year-old Malaysian man, had attended the gathering and was tested positive for the virus on March 10.
He was the first positive patient in Sabah.
Yesterday morning, Brunei reported a spike of 10 cases, all of which are related to the event in Sri Petaling.
Malaysians who attended the event should contact the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre via its hotline at 03-8881 0200.