Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab has been cleared of COVID-19, the hardline Islamic group said, after growing speculation that the firebrand cleric had contracted the disease from being exposed to large crowds recently.
FPI’s legal aid secretary Aziz Yanuar shared the news yesterday evening, adding that Rizieq’s family members also tested negative for COVID-19.
The announcement may come under scrutiny, however, as Rizieq previously refused local authorities’ request for a swab test, insisting that he would carry out a test arranged by FPI.
Aziz said details about Rizieq’s test result may not be released publicly in accordance with medical ethics.
“Regarding the medical evidence, that touches on [Rizieq’s] privacy so it will only be disclosed under his instruction,” Azis said.
Rizieq returned to Indonesia on Nov. 10, after more than three years of self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia, to huge crowds of supporters. He subsequently held events that attracted thousands, including his daughter’s wedding, which local authorities were unable to prevent.
In the past week, however, Rizieq has been quite reclusive, with those close to him saying he’s in good health but is resting in his Petamburan, Central Jakarta residence. On Saturday evening, police and military personnel were deployed to Petamburan requesting that Rizieq undertake a swab test, as health authorities have identified new COVID-19 clusters from Rizieq’s recent events with at least 50 people testing positive so far.
However, Rizieq refused to be swab tested with his family while stressing that he’s just resting at home. Without a warrant, the police and military were not able to order Rizieq for testing.
Before Aziz’s announcement of Rizieq’s test result, Jakarta Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria warned Rizieq about the capital’s IDR5 million (US$352) fine for anyone who refuses mandatory COVID-19 screening.
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