Coronavirus: Two Singaporeans at religious event in Malaysia infected
All mosques here to close for five days for disinfection, Friday prayers suspended
All 70 mosques in Singapore will be closed for at least five days for disinfection from today, after two Singaporean men who attended a mass religious event in Malaysia tested positive for the coronavirus.
Announcing this yesterday, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said about 90 Singaporeans had gone to the gathering in Seri Petaling Mosque on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur from Feb 27 to March 1. They were among 10,000 people from several countries.
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said at a press conference that one of the Singaporeans fell sick a few days after returning from the event and sought medical attention around March 9.
Before that, he visited four mosques here - Jamae Chulia mosque in South Bridge Road, Al-Muttaqin mosque in Ang Mo Kio, Hajjah Fatimah mosque in Beach Road and Kassim mosque in Changi Road. They were all closed for cleaning yesterday.
"We think it is also important to extend the exercise to all mosques," Mr Masagos said, noting the closures would mean no Friday prayers today.
This is the first time all 70 mosques here have been closed.
Mr Masagos said: "We need to protect ourselves, our community, our loved ones. And more so knowing the impact, the effects of Covid-19 on the seniors and elderly.
"Many of the people who come to the mosque are retired, senior people, and therefore we feel it is important, for the moment, to prevent such big congregations in our mosques."
Muis said that all mosque activities, lectures, religious classes and mosque-based kindergarten sessions will be suspended till March 27.
The movements of the other infected man are being traced.
Mr Masagos said that members of the Singapore congregation have been identified through one of the leaders, and their details have been given to the Ministry of Health for contact tracing.
The two men were listed among the nine new cases confirmed yesterday. They are warded at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.
One of them, 29, was in Malaysia from Feb 29 to March 4, and the other, 48, was there from Feb 28 to March 2.
Muis chief executive Esa Masood also said the closure of the mosques may be extended if the need arises.
It will be monitoring the number of Covid-19 cases arising from the gathering.
"Should the numbers go up, or our assessment is that beyond the two (cases) there is a sizeable cluster, those are good justifications to then consider an extension," Mr Esa said.
"The other consideration is what happens in the region.... We will also be monitoring what is happening to the participants who went back to their own countries."
Muis said Muslims should perform their regular noon prayers in place of the congregational prayers, and Friday messages will also be disseminated online in place of the sermon.
Mr Masagos said a Malay-Muslim working group on Covid-19, comprising religious teachers and doctors, has been formed to advise the mosques.
Malaysian newspaper The Star reported that Brunei has 11 cases, all linked to the religious gathering.
Reuters reported that Malaysia has called for mass gatherings to be postponed after at least 12 cases were linked to the gathering.
The authorities there are tracking some 5,000 citizens who took part in the event.