Palestine’s First Two Coronavirus Patients Attended A Religious Conference In Pakistan
Pakistani authorities had urged for the cancellation of the five-day Tablighi Ijtema congregation held annually near Lahore.
The first two confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Palestine had attended a religious conference in Pakistan along with 250,000 Muslims, a Palestinian official and family members informed.
Despite the government’s orders to cancel all kinds of gatherings due to the coronavirus threat, the congregation took place.
Pakistani authorities had urged for the cancellation of the five-day Tablighi Ijtema congregation held annually near Lahore. Organizers turned a deaf ear to the government and the congregation was held as planned.
The movement was founded by religious scholars decades ago. One of the event organizers Ehsanullah told a news outlet that although most had gone home, ‘tens of thousands of people are here’ and would return.
“Our elders and organizers decided that the gathering will proceed as planned”, he said.
#Palestinian embassy in #Islamabad said the two persons, who tested #COVID19 positive, attended a religious congregation earlier near #Lahore “despite the warning of the #Pakistani authorities against conferences.” https://t.co/RyPlbYBYWE
— Arab News Pakistan (@arabnewspk) March 24, 2020
It is still unknown where the two Palestinians, who returned to Gaza from Pakistan earlier this month, contracted the virus. But a statement from the Palestinian embassy in Islamabad said that the two took part in the event which was held despite the warning from Pakistani authorities.
Omar al-Tabatibi said his 79-year-old grandfather Mohammad and friend Amer Doghmosh attended the conference in Lahore. After returning from Pakistan, his grandfather also stayed for several days in Egypt before returning to Gaza.
“Maybe, my grandfather caught corona in Egypt and not Pakistan, no one knows”, Omar said.
Gaza’s health ministry said the two men were put in isolation immediately after crossing Gaza and didn’t mix with the population.
Omar’s grandfather has pre-existing medical conditions, like high blood pressure and diabetes.
“I spoke to him last night on the phone and he told me he was okay and is recovering”, he said.
The United Nations issued a warning saying that the COVID-19 outbreak in Gaza could be devastating given the high poverty rates and weak health system.
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