The menace of novel Coronavirus has become a global epidemic that has disrupted the life-cycle of practically everybody on the planet. The stock markets around the world have plummeted and hint of global recession, worse than the 2008 one has started to do the rounds. More than 180,000 people have now been infected by the communicable disease around the globe with 7,165 already dead. The situation is gruesome and people are being advised by WHO and governments to stay indoors and avoid large gatherings. But it seems like the advice is falling on deaf ears for some.
In a major development, out of Malaysia’s 673 confirmed coronavirus cases, nearly two-thirds of the cases have been linked to a four-day Muslim gathering which took place at the Sri Petaling Mosque compound from February 27 to March 1. The Muslim gathering held at a sprawling mosque complex on the outskirts of Malaysia‘s capital Kuala Lumpur has emerged as the epicentre and hotbed of coronavirus infections that has spread to the whole of Southeast Asia.
The event was attended by 16,000 people, including 1,500 foreigners. A close look at the Social media posts shows that hundreds of worshippers were praying shoulder-to-shoulder inside the compound. Being so close to one another would have led to the virus spreading rapidly.
Brunei has confirmed 50 cases linked to the mosque gathering, out of a total of 56 cases. Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia, which had nearly 700 of their citizens attend the poorly planned event, are all investigating. Singapore has announced five linked to the event, whereas Cambodia and Thailand have reported 13 and two cases respectively.
Owing to the spread of deadly virus Malaysian authorities have now closed all mosques for the coming two weeks. The Southeast Asian country has shut its borders, restricted internal movement and closed schools, universities and most businesses, as it attempts to control its coronavirus outbreak.
The reason as to how such a large religious gathering was given the nod is beyond anybody. The virus during the later days of February had already engulfed Italy and Iran with more than 2,700 deaths, yet the Malaysian authorities did not take the initiative to cancel the event.
One of the worst affected countries by coronavirus outside mainland China is the western Asian country of Iran. The Islamic nation is facing “massive” shortages of medical supplies, including face masks, as it struggles to deal with the spread of the disease under the economic sanctions of the USA.
During such perilous times, advice of doctors and health experts should be followed blindly but religion seems to be the undoing of people of Iran too.
A shocking video is doing the rounds on social media which shows worshippers in Iran licking and kissing shrines at holy sites in the Iranian cities of Qom and Mashhad amid COVID-19 outbreak in the country. The shared video shows people licking the doors and a burial mound at the Fatima Masumeh Shrine in Qom, the epicentre of COVID-19 outbreak in Iran.
Also, several videos have been released in the past week of worshippers licking and kissing shrines. As the video went viral, social media was abuzz with reactions.
The Shia shrines in Iran have not been completely closed despite coronavirus concerns and are touched and kissed by thousands of pilgrims every day.
The incident comes at a time when religious authorities all over the world are taking steps to limit contact or close places of worship in response to the pandemic.
More than 16,000 of the over 18,000 confirmed cases of the virus across the Middle East have been reported in Iran, with the country’s death toll rising by 135 on Tuesday to 988.
Another news report from the South China Morning Post cites “Nearly 50 people have been infected with Covid-19 at a church in South Korea after an official sprayed saltwater into members mouths” because they thought it would kill the virus.
An official at the River of Grace Community Church in Gyeonggi Province, near Seoul, used the same spray bottle on multiple church-goers without disinfecting the nozzle, causing a large number of the 100 or so attendees to be infected, including the church’s pastor and his wife.
The church was consequently closed and all its believers who attended the prayer sessions are being tested.
In the USA, Florida, an Evangelical pastor going by the name Rodney Howard-Browne River of Tampa Bay Church has mocked the “pansies” who are scared of the coronavirus — as he insisted his packed church will only shut its doors “when the Rapture is taking place.”
“If you cannot be saved in the church, you are in serious trouble,” the pastor was heard saying as he encouraged congregants to hug in defiance of health warnings.
People must fathom the importance of staying indoors rather than going out to the religious places and becoming the infamous “Patient-31” of Korea which is believed to have triggered eighty per cent of the country’s infections. The times are testing and God can only save its followers if they listen to medial health experts. Countries around the globe need to close all religious gathering sites as soon as possible. These sites are the vectors of COVID-19 and the global community is not prepared if this situation goes any south.