How religious gatherings becoming potential COVID-19 hotspots in Asia 

WION Web Team New Delhi Mar 30, 2020, 08.59 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Worshippers slept in packed tents outside the golden-domed mosque, waking before dawn to kneel on rows of prayer mats laid out in its cavernous central hall. But unknown to the guests, the coronavirus was also passing among them.

Religious programmes attended by thousands in several mosques in Pakistan, Malaysia and India have been linked to many positive cases of coronavirus, according to reports. 

Some 27 members of Tableeghi Jamaat congregation out of 35 screened at the Tableeghi Markaz in Raiwind tested positive for coronavirus recently in Pakistan as mosques and religious gatherings emerged as potential spreaders of the virus in South Asia. 

Around 1,200 people, including over 500 foreigners, were attending the five-day congregation.

Similarly in Malaysia out 673 confirmed infections, nearly two-thirds are linked to a Muslim gathering held at the end of last month at a sprawling mosque complex on the outskirts of Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur has emerged as a source of hundreds of new coronavirus infections spanning Southeast Asia.

Worshippers slept in packed tents outside the golden-domed mosque, waking before dawn to kneel on rows of prayer mats laid out in its cavernous central hall. But unknown to the guests, the coronavirus was also passing among them.

Meanwhile, around 200 people were taken from Nizamuddin area in New Delhi, India to various hospitals by district authorities after they developed coronavirus symptoms, said a police officer on Monday.

The 200 people were among 1400 who attended a religious programme at the mosque around March 18 in the area. 300 foreigners also attended the programme, according to the police.