"Quran" by Habib M’henni / Public Domain

Religious Group’s Mass Gatherings Across Asia Spark Virus Clusters

Apr 21, 2020

By Faseeh Mangi

A conservative religious group’s gatherings have emerged as coronavirus hotspots in Malaysia, India and now Pakistan, with authorities tracking people who attended an event with as many as 70,000 worshipers that’s responsible for more than a quarter of all cases in the South Asian nation.

The Sunni Muslim missionary group, Tabligh-e-Jamaat, hosted the event in the town of Raiwind in Lahore in mid-March. More than 2,258 people who attended have been tested positive so far, according to government data. The South Asian nation has about 8,418 confirmed cases and 176 deaths.

The five-day annual religious gathering — which began before Pakistan’s lockdown was implemented — was attended by as many as 70,000 including 3,000 travelers before it was cut short, police officer Ghazanfar Shah said by phone.

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