MARAWI CITY, Mar. 24 (PIA) -- One hundred ninety-six (196) of the 215 Filipino-Muslims who attended a Tabligh (Islamic preachers) gathering in Malaysia has now been identified by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao's Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 (BARMM-IATF).
The gathering, attended by over 16,000 people, was held from February 27 - March 1, in Kuala Lumpur's Jamek Sri Petalling Mosque. It was reported to be linked to the spike of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Malaysia.
BARMM Cabinet Secretary and IATF spokesperson Asnin Pendatun said in a press briefing on Monday, March 23, that the task force was able to get the passport numbers of those individuals who are now considered as Persons Under Monitoring (PUM).
"Pero kailangan muna nating i-validate isa-isa kasi hindi lahat ay galing sa Pilipinas at galing sa BARMM. Hindi rin lahat ay nakauwi na. Some are still in Malaysia," Pendatun said.
"Ang importante may pangalan na sila at passport numbers, malaking tulong yun na ma-track natin sila," he added.
The IATF has already identified 35 persons as residents of BARMM. They are now under strict monitoring.
"Karamihan sa mga na-trace natin ay asymptomatic at naka-quarantine sila, patapos na din ang 14 days quarantine nila," Pendatun said.
As to the reports circulating that 16 of the 215 individuals are COVID-19 positive, Pendatun said, "As of now we don't have an official statement from the Department of Health so we cannot confirm that. We will validate it from the authorities first."
As of date, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has recorded a total of 157 PUI and 5,112 PUM across the Bangsamoro region. Maguindanao province has 20 PUI and 1,331 PUM; Lanao del Sur and Marawi City with 27 PUI and 1,489 PUM; Basilan and Lamitan City with 34 PUI and 985 PUM; Tawi-Tawi with 9 PUI and 584 PUM; and Sulu with 40 PUI and 630 PUM.
MOH has also recorded two confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region, including a patient from Amai Pakpak Hospital in Marawi City and Northern Mindanao Medical Center, in Cagayan de Oro City. (BPI/PIA ICIC)