42 Thais return from Indonesia mosque with COVID-19

More than half of the nearly 80 Thai Muslims who returned from a religious gathering in Indonesia were found infected with COVID-19, health officials said Wednesday.

The 42, part of 111 new cases announced this morning, had returned from an unspecified religious ceremony before testing positive for the coronavirus. They are now being treated at hospitals, said Taweesilp Wissanuyothin of Department of Disease Control at this morning’s daily briefing.

The group of 76 reportedly returned to Thailand from Indonesia on Monday. Officials would not say where exactly the event was held, but Indonesia hosted at least one large gathering late last month in South Sulawesi province that drew about 10,000 pilgrims from throughout the region.

The infected include residents of Songkhla, Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Satun provinces. Satun saw the most infections – 16 people. Those who tested negative were ordered into isolation as well as their flight’s cabin crew, Taweesilp said. 

It comes after dozens of Thais were infected at another mosque gathering in late February in Kuala Lumpur that saw hundreds of travelers return to their home nations infected.

Thailand on Wednesday reported new 111 COVID-19 cases and three deaths, bringing the official tally to 2,369 infections and 30 fatalities since January. Due to testing limitations, the actual numbers are likely much higher.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the location of last month’s gathering in Indonesia. It was in South Sulawesi, not East Java.

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