MANILA, Philippines – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) ordered all local government units (LGUs) in the region to track and monitor 215 Filipinos who attended a tabligh event or religious gathering in Malaysia where some have tested positive for the coronavirus.
In a memo advisory on Saturday, March 21, the BARMM Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) directed all provincial governors, city and town mayors, punong barangays or village chiefs, and other local officials in the region to “expedite tracking these attendees, determine their health status, and report immediately” to the regional task force handling COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Minister Naguib Sinarimbo signed the memo advisory.
The MILG also ordered punong barangays through their barangay health emergency response teams to ramp up contact tracing and monitoring the tabligh attendees, who are now considered persons under monitoring (PUMs).
“They shall ensure that they will report immediately to the higher LGUs [about] any identified persons who were in attendance” at the gathering, it added.
The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos reported that there were 215 Filipinos who joined the Itjima congregation at the tabligh gathering in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The 4-day gathering, attended by up to 16,000 Muslims, ran from February 27 to March 1. Reuters reported on Saturday that the tabligh “has been linked to 714 COVID-19 cases” in Malaysia, “and at least 840 across Southeast Asia.”
One person who attended the tabligh had been probed for the coronavirus, but died last Tuesday, March 17, in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur while awaiting the test result. He was positive for COVID-19, reported ABS-CBN News.
Already, Lanao del Sur and many areas in Mindanao have declared lockdowns, imposed curfews and community quarantines, or declared a state of calamity.
Nationwide, as of writing, 380 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the Philippines. A total of 25 deaths have been reported, while 17 cases have recovered. – Rappler.com