Cotabato City (March 27, 2020)—The Bangsamoro Inter-Agency Task Force (BARMM-IATF) on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has traced and verified 37 of the initially identified 196 Filipino attendees to a Tabligh (Islamic preachers) gathering held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, late February 2020.
According to Minister Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan of the Ministry of Health (MOH), “just to ensure everyone that we are taking this seriously, we have the names and addresses of these people. However, the copy of their names is confidential.”
14 are from Lanao del Sur, 6 from Maguindanao, including the former patient from Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC), 6 from Basilan, 7 from Sulu, 2 from Tawi-Tawi, and 2 from Lamitan City.
He also confirmed that most of the 37 attendees are in good health and have not shown serious symptoms of the COVID-19. However, the said list gathered by the BARMM-IATF does not include the already-identified patients who tested positive for COVID-19, with the same travel history to Malaysia.
“They were examined. Naka-usap sila at nabigyan na ng instruction on how to do home quarantine. Karamihan dito ay natapos na ang quarantine period,” he stated.
“List natin ito sa BARMM,” Dipatuan said as he refers to the printed copy. “Isasama natin sa total [‘yong naunang patients]. Ito ang priority na kailangan natin maibigay,” Dipatuan added.
Furthermore, BARMM Cabinet Secretary and IATF Spokesperson Mohammad Asnin Pendatun stressed that other participants of the said gathering may not be residents of the region, since it was a religious gathering. He emphasized, “hindi tao ang target natin dito, kundi ang virus.”
Meanwhile, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (MILF-BIAF) has issued a directive to all of its Base Commanders to help in the information dissemination on COVID-19 and assist the Local Government Units (LGUs) in tracing the whereabouts and health conditions of the tabligh participants in Malaysia.
As of writing, the entire BARMM has 185 Persons Under Investigation (PUI) and 6,697 Persons Under Monitoring (PUM). There are 5 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the region, 2 are admitted, 1 under strict home quarantine, and 2 fatalities. (Bureau of Public Information)
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