Hidden slippers, prayers in the dark: SOP ignorance to blame for Kampung Pauh Lima cluster, Bachok district chief admits

Zaini said the coronavirus has claimed two lives from the Kampung Pauh Lima cluster. — Bernama pic
Zaini said the coronavirus has claimed two lives from the Kampung Pauh Lima cluster. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — The apparent lengths to which worshippers at Kampung Pauh Lima, Bachok in Kelantan went in order to perform congregational prayers is said to be behind the rash of Covid-19 infections there.

News site Utusan Online reported that they hid their slippers and prayed in the dark at the village’s surau to avoid detection by the authorities.

Bachok district chief, Mohd Farid Abdul Razak, was quoted as saying that the villagers were under the impression that the standard operating procedure (SOP), introduced to stem the spread of Covid-19, prohibited Muslims from worshipping.

“The SOP, which is related to limiting congregational numbers in mosques as well as the closure of small surau in the village, is not meant to prohibit us from praying, but to prevent large gatherings in confined spaces.

“When someone prays in the dark and hides their slippers to evade the authorities, that means the awareness of how the Covid-19 virus can spread is still low,” he told Utusan Online.

Kampung Pauh Lima recorded a sharp increase in cases earlier this month, with 84 individuals testing positive for Covid-19 so far.

The village is now under an enhanced movement control order (EMCO) until June 1.

Commenting further, Mohd Farid said his party PAS would work with the state Information Department to conduct public service announcements in villages throughout the Bachok district to increase awareness of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Utusan Online also reported state Health Director, Datuk Dr Zaini Hussin, as saying the coronavirus had claimed two lives from the Kampung Pauh Lima cluster.

He added that the infectivity rate (Rt) for Kelantan, which fell a few days ago, is expected to rise again due to the growing number of community cases, frequency of new clusters and spread of new Covid-19 variants.

Yesterday, Dr Zaini announced that five-month-old twins were among the 84 individuals who had tested positive for Covid-19 from the Kampung Pauh Lima cluster.

He said the sisters are currently warded at Raja Perempuan Zainab II (RPZII) Hospital here.

“Since the cluster was first detected on May 11, more than 400 villagers have undergone swab tests,” he was reported as saying yesterday.

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