Indonesia’s health minister asks Muslim clerics to pray against coronavirus

first_imgThe congress, organized by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), was held in Pangkalpinang, Bangka Belitung, from Wednesday to Saturday. Other senior government officials attending the event were Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, who heads the MUI, and Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi.The health minister – a seasoned military doctor – has repeatedly said he believes the power of prayer is one reason Indonesia has been spared from the virus outbreak so far. He noted that, from hundreds of samples tested by the government, none had come back positive, indicating that the nation was still free from the virus.“We can only pray, while also working, testing and taking action to detect [any virus infection]. If there is [a case of the coronavirus disease 2019], we will respond to it. We are still checking and preventing [the disease]; we are [taking measures] according to WHO standards,” he said as quoted by tempo.co.In his opening speech, Ma’ruf said many Muslim clerics had recited the qunut prayer while leading the dawn prayers, and that could have been the reason why Indonesia had remained coronavirus-free. As SARS-Cov-2 swiftly spreads across the globe, infecting thousands of people from Singapore to Northern Ireland, Indonesian Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto, a devout Christian, attended a national Islamic conference on Wednesday to ask Muslim clerics to pray against the lethal virus.“I just landed here last night, [after] joining the Congress of the Indonesian Islamic Community. [The visit] was important, for I wanted to ask for a prayer,” the minister said as quoted by kompas.com in Jakarta on Thursday.Read also: From military to virus outbreak: What sets Terawan apart from predecessors In Islamic tradition, a qunut nazilah prayer is recited when the Islamic community faces a calamity, including a deadly plague.“Many Muslim clerics recited the qunut prayer. I also read the qunut prayer to stave off danger, epidemics and diseases. That’s why the coronavirus is staying away from Indonesia,” Ma’ruf, who is also a senior Muslim cleric, said. Ma’ruf also expressed his appreciation for Terawan, who has worked hard to anticipate the outbreak. “He is the goalkeeper. Even though other countries have experienced the outbreak, China, Japan, the United States, Singapore and many other countries, [Indonesia hasn’t]. The Health Minister said it is because of the prayers of the Muslim clerics,” he said.The Indonesian government has not reported any cases of the novel coronavirus as of Friday afternoon. Cases of the new disease have been detected in at least 50 countries across the globe. (ghc)center_img Topics :last_img read more

India rescuers pull 4-year-old survivor from collapsed building as toll climbs

first_imgRescuers in India pulled a four-year-old boy from the rubble of a collapsed building to loud cheers on Tuesday, hours after the five-story apartment block came down “like a house of cards”, killing 11 and burying up to 60 others.The accident late Monday in the western town of Mahad led three disaster-response teams and sniffer dogs to work through the night, combing tin sheets, twisted metal and broken bricks.Officials said many residents of the 47 flats inside the building were spared because they had already fled the town to escape the coronavirus pandemic. The cause of the accident was not immediately clear but building collapses are common during India’s June-September monsoon, with old and rickety structures buckling after days of non-stop rain.National Disaster Response Force spokesman Sachidanand Gawde told reporters that locals and emergency workers had retrieved the bodies of 11 victims in addition to the little boy who survived the collapse.Video of the rescue effort showed onlookers applauding and cheering as the child was plucked out of the wreckage and hauled up on a stretcher.Estimates of the number trapped ranged from 20 to 70 on Tuesday morning after dozens managed to flee when the building began to shake. Topics : Residents’ complaintsAs emergency workers made their way through the wreckage, looking for survivors, distressed relatives watched, desperate for news of their loved ones.”Three people from my family are stuck under the rubble — my mother, my sister and my nephew,” said Gazala, a doctor who preferred to give only her first name to AFP.Mustafa Chafekar, a resident who had been in home quarantine after testing positive for the virus, told the Mumbai Mirror that he and his family of five initially thought they were experiencing an earthquake.”We ran down immediately… The whole [structure] collapsed right in front of us,” the 39-year-old said of their escape.He said residents had previously complained to the builders about the condition of the complex.Local politician Manik Motiram Jagtap told TV9 Marathi that the structure was 10 years old and built on “weak” foundations.”It fell like a house of cards,” Jagtap said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was “saddened”.”My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their dear ones. I pray the injured recover soon,” he said.The monsoon plays a vital role in boosting agricultural harvests across South Asia. But it also causes widespread death and destruction, unleashing floods, triggering building collapses and inundating low-lying villages.The death toll from monsoon-related disasters this year has topped 1,200, including more than 800 in India.The building collapse is a further blow to the state of Maharashtra, already hit hard by the coronavirus, with the region accounting for more than a fifth of India’s more than three million infections.The pandemic has also cast a shadow over India’s ongoing Ganesha Chaturthi festival, with Hindu devotees ordered to sharply scale down celebrations and rituals honoring the much loved elephant god. “No one knows how many people are actually stuck inside,” a Mahad police official told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that authorities had initially feared much worse, with early estimates as high as 200.Mahad legislator Bharat Gogawale told AFP that many of the building’s occupants appeared to have been out shopping when the accident occurred around 7:00 pm.Others had left the town altogether, preferring to wait out the pandemic in their home villages.”Many families were not residing in the building as they went to their native places due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown,” district official Nidhi Choudhari told the Press Trust of India.last_img read more