Coronavirus: Bangladesh mass prayer occasion prompts alarm

Raipur in Lakshmipur district on March 18, 2020Image copyright AFP
Image caption Eyewitnesses say near 30,000 individuals attended

Tens of 1000’s of individuals gathered in Bangladesh for a mass prayer session on Wednesday, amid fears that it may result in a wider outbreak.

Local police chief Tota Miah advised AFP information company that 10,000 Muslims had gathered in Raipur city to wish “healing verses” from the Koran.

But some eyewitnesses advised the BBC the determine was nearer to 30,000.

It comes as a spiritual occasion in Malaysia was confirmed because the supply of greater than 500 native infections there.

The occasion, which was attended by 16,000 individuals, has additionally led to infections in neighbouring Brunei, Singapore and Cambodia.

Malaysia’s authorities later banned all public gatherings within the nation and locked down its borders to forestall the additional unfold of the virus.

An analogous mass spiritual gathering in Indonesia, as a result of be held later this week, has now been cancelled for worry {that a} comparable outbreak may happen.

Prayer and safety

The spiritual occasion at Raipur in Lakshmipur district got here as Bangladesh confirmed its first dying because of the virus.

Some 17 individuals within the nation have examined constructive up to now, though many consultants are sceptical over the official figures.

Mr Miah stated organisers didn’t get permission from the authorities to carry the occasion – although such native gatherings in Bangladesh usually don’t depend on getting official permits.

Image copyright Junayed Al Habib
Image caption The occasion came about in a city in southern Bangladesh

BBC Bengali’s correspondent Akbar Hossain spoke to locals who stated the occasion was organised by a spiritual chief who held a certain quantity of “influence” within the small city.

He urged individuals to affix him in praying for cover from the virus, and after the occasion, advised folks that they might now be “free from the coronavirus”.

Our correspondent says that the southern a part of Bangladesh is extra spiritual, with individuals there “passionately believing that Islamic sermons and prayer are able to solve their problems”.

According to the Dhaka Tribune newspaper, the prayers carried out have been that of the Six Quranic Verses of Healing.

Image copyright Junayed Al Habib
Image caption The Six Quranic Verses of Healing have been carried out, says the Dhaka Tribune

Mass outbreak fears

In Indonesia, a mass spiritual gathering as a result of be held over three days, 19-22 March, has been cancelled.

Authorities had for days tried to steer organisers to not go forward with the occasion, for worry that it could result in a mass outbreak in circumstances.

On Thursday, organisers lastly agreed to cancel, however by that point, round 10,000 individuals – 474 of them individuals from overseas – had already made their option to Gowa, a regency within the Indonesian province of South Sulawesi, for the occasion.

Provincial authorities advised native media shops that there have been plans to “quarantine” international nationals in native resorts for 14 days. They additionally stated they have been reaching out to officers in different provinces to verify the native contributors can be quarantined upon their return house.

None of the contributors have up to now been confirmed to have the virus, however the nation now has a nationwide complete of 309 confirmed circumstances, with 25 deaths.

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