Congregation in Gowa canceled, 8,000 participants asked to return home

Congregation in Gowa canceled, 8,000 participants asked to return home

Photo File: Vice Governor of South Sulawesi Province Andi Sudirman Sulaiman. (ANTARA/HO/South Sulawesi Provincial Government)

We have contacted our counterparts in the local district and South Sulawesi Police to strictly escort the people, spray disinfectants to keep the place sterile (from virus and bacteria), and prevent any contact (between local residents and visitors)
Makassar, S Sulawesi (ANTARA) - At least 8,000 Muslims currently in South Sulawesi Province for a congregation were directed to return home as part of measures to contain coronavirus, said a high ranking official here on Thursday.

Officials are strictly monitoring their movements and escorting them to the Hasanudin International Airport and the Soekarno-Hatta Port in efforts to prevent COVID-19 infections in South Sulawesi Province, he said.

Thousands of members of the Tablighi Jama'at group from nearly all provinces of Indonesia and overseas have flocked to Pakatto, a village in Gowa District, South Sulawesi Province, to attend the 2020 Global Ijtima Asian Zone. A similar mass gathering of the Tablighi Jama'at in Malaysia earlier this month reportedly led to more than 500 new COVID-19 cases in the country.

After the planned congregation sparked public concern, the local administration of Gowa District decided to cancel the event late Wednesday (March 18). It also asked participants to return home and follow health procedures laid down by officials to reduce risk of infection.

"We have contacted our counterparts in the local district and South Sulawesi Police to strictly escort the people, spray disinfectants to keep the place sterile (from virus and bacteria), and prevent any contact (between local residents and visitors) during the process," South Sulawesi Vice Governor Andi Sudirman Sulaiman noted in a statement issued on Thursday.

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks, the Indonesian government has asked citizens to remain at home and avoid outdoor activities to prevent infection.

In a press conference on Thursday, a spokesman for the Indonesian government’s coronavirus response team, Achmad Yurianto, said 309 persons have tested positive for the virus in the country. The number of deaths has increased from 19 to 25, while 15 patients have shown full recovery, Yurianto remarked.

The additional cases, he added, had been reported from the provinces of Banten, Yogyakarta, Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, East Kalimantan, Riau Islands, North Sumatra, Southeast Sulawesi, and Riau. (INE)

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