The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s Inter-Agency Task Force (BARMM-IATF) on 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has already identified 196 of the 215 “tabligh” or Islamic preachers who attended a recent religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that is linked to the increase of Covid-19 cases in the region.
In a press briefing in Cotabato City on Monday, March 23, BARMM-IATF spokesperson Asnin Pendatun said they managed to obtain the passport numbers of the preachers who are now considered as persons under monitoring (PUMs).
Six of the Tabligh are reportedly Malaysian nationals who are now under quarantine in the province of Basilan.
“We have to validate this yet as not all of those who went to Malaysia have returned home and are also not residents of BARMM,” Pendatun said.
Early on, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos has reported that 19 of the 215 Muslim religious leaders from the Philippines are currently held in isolation facilities in Malaysia after testing positive for the disease.
“What is important is that we know their names and passport numbers so we can easily track them,” Pendatun said.
Pendatun said that 35 of the 215 Islamic preachers are currently in the BARMM and is closely being monitored by the IATF.
“Most of them are asymptomatic and are on a 14-day quarantine status,” Pendatun said. He added that the IATF is also validating reports that 16 of the 215 religious leaders are positive from Covid-19.
“As of now we don’t have an official statement from the DOH so we cannot confirm that yet,” Pendatun said. Meanwhile, he said that the IATF is also currently monitoring around 400 Filipino-Muslims who were deported from Sabah, Malaysia.
“Some 200 of those (deportees) are from the province of Basilan, while the rest are from different parts of Mindanao,” Pendatun said.
Pendatun said that 27 of the deportees are persons under investigation (PUIs) while 93 are PUMs and are now under quarantine in Basilan.
BARMM’s health minister Dr. Safrullah Dipatuan said that the region currently has two confirmed Covid-19 cases, 157 PUIs, and 5,112 PUMs. (PNA)