Malaysia reports 190 new COVID-19 cases, most linked to mosque event

Malaysia reports 190 new COVID-19 cases, most linked to mosque event

Customer wearing protective mask shops at supermarket in Kuala Lumpur
A customer wearing a protective mask shops at a supermarket in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mar 15, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Lim Huey Teng)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia reported 190 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday (Mar 15), most linked to a religious event at a mosque that was attended by more than 16,000 people from several countries.

The new cases bring the total number of infections in the country to 428, making Malaysia the worst-hit Southeast Asian country to date. 

Seven patients were also recently discharged from Hospital Sungai Buloh, bringing the total number of recovered patients in Malaysia to 42.

A total of 243 cases have been linked to the mosque gathering with nine cases critically ill in intensive care, the health ministry said.

Explore: Real-time interactive map of all the confirmed cases reported around the world

Customers, wearing protective masks, shop at a supermarket, following the outbreak of coronavirus,
Customers, wearing protective masks, shop at a supermarket in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mar 15, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Lim Huey Teng)

Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said all event participants and their close contacts will be placed under mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

The health ministry said investigations into the religious gathering are ongoing. The ministry also urged participants of the tabligh event, or religious rally, at Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling to contact the authorities. 

About 14,500 Malaysians and 1,500 foreigners attended the religious gathering between Feb 27 and Mar 1.

As of Sunday, 45 of the 50 cases in Brunei have been linked to the religious gathering.

Dr Adham added that the Malaysian government will hold a special meeting on Monday to discuss further measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

READ: 'Mammoth task': Malaysia conducts mass COVID-19 screenings for participants of KL mosque gathering

Customers, wearing protective masks, line up to pay at a supermarket in Kuala Lumpur
Customers, wearing protective masks, line up to pay at a supermarket in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mar 15, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Lim Huey Teng)

Prime Minister Muyiddin Yassin said on Friday that the country was facing a "second wave" of infections, and warned of an impact on economic growth.

To contain the spread of the virus, all gatherings including international meetings, sports, social and religious events would be cancelled or postponed until after April, he said.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) earlier on Sunday released a list of 10 mosques visited by five Singaporeans who had tested positive for COVID-19, after they attended the Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling mass religious gathering in Malaysia.

"Thus far (Singapore's Ministry of Health) contact tracing efforts have revealed that the individuals who tested positive visited a total of 10 mosques during their infectious period," said MUIS in a public advisory.

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Source: Agencies/CNA/zl

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