Malaysia detects five generations of Covid-19 cases linked to mosque cluster

A police officer wearing protective mask stands guard outside the Seri Petaling Mosque, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 18, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Health Ministry has detected five generations of positive Covid-19 cases that were linked to the tabligh gathering in the Seri Petaling Mosque last month.

Health director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that from the tabligh cluster, 711 cases had infected their families.

"If we look at the tabligh cluster, there are 711 index cases and these index cases spread to their families, which are the first generation.

"Their family members infect their neighbours, and these neighbours infect their friends. We have seen five generations of infections. Every person who infect another individual... there are five generations," he said during a press conference on the Covid-19 situation on Thursday (March 26).

The tabligh cluster makes up 55 per cent of all the Covid-19 cases in the country, or 1,117 of 2,031 cases so far.

More than half of the 23 deaths linked to the disease so far are also linked to this cluster.

The tabligh gathering from Feb 27 to March 3 this year saw about 16,000 attendees, with 1,500 of them being foreigners from 25 different countries.

"We have to determine how we are going to identify the close contacts of the tabligh attendees. The first is their family members and the second is maybe their friends. This investigation is complicated and will take time," said Dr Hisham.

He said that 13,762 tabligh attendees were screened with 9,327 samples taken to be tested.

While 1,117 of the samples tested positive, a total of 5,646 were negative while 2,564 were still pending for the results.

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