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Jakarta Post

Brebes emerges as COVID-19 cluster as residents test positive after attending Gowa gathering

  • Suherdjoko

    The Jakarta Post

Semarang   /   Thu, May 7, 2020   /   12:16 pm
Brebes emerges as COVID-19 cluster as residents test positive after attending Gowa gathering A South Sulawesi Police officer sprays disinfectant in the venue of an international Islamic gathering in Pakkato village, Bontomaranmu district, Gowa regency, South Sulawesi on March 19. The event was cancelled as a result of the pandemic, but only after thousands of attendees had reached the site. (Antara/Abriawan Abhe)

The Central Java administration has announced that Brebes has been designated a COVID-19 “red zone” after 16 of its residents tested positive for the virus. 

Those 16 people went to Gowa regency in South Sulawesi in March to attend an international tabligh (Islamic mass gathering), dubbed Asia's World Ijtima 2020 (Ijtima Dunia Zona Asia 2020), which was subsequently canceled as a result of the outbreak. By the time the event was canceled, however, thousands of its attendees had already arrived at the site.

Brebes was previously categorized as a “yellow zone”. 

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said on Wednesday that at least 16 Brebes residents returning from the gathering had later tested positive for COVID-19. 

Read also: Participant of Islamic gathering in South Sulawesi dies

He further revealed that around 1,500 Central Java residents went to Gowa in late March to participate in the event, but only a few of them have been tracked and tested so far.

"I call on everyone returning from the ijtima to report to the authorities [for testing]," Ganjar said. 

He further instructed all regional heads and health agencies across the province to track down the participants to prevent a much larger outbreak.

Central Java had recorded 891 positive cases as of Wednesday afternoon, with 64 fatalities. (vny)