Amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, several upcoming events forced to be cancelled. One of them, an Islamic gathering dubbed the World Ijtima Asia scheduled on March 19-22 in Gowa District’s Pakkatto Village. The South Sulawesi Provincial Government has officially cancelled the event. Because the local government and event organizers deemed it safer to suspend the event amid the fear of virus.
The participants of the gathering itself, according to South Sulawesi Governor Nurdin Abdullah, come from a number of international countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Brunei, and Timor Leste.
Health checks are being implemented to the international participants. They are undergoing for that at the Sudiang Hajj dormitory, a temporary make-shift coronavirus isolation facility.
“We are currently isolating the foreign nationals at the location and have prepared a hotel in Makassar for them before sending them back home,” said Nurdin Abdullah in Makassar Thursday, March 19.
Meanwhile for locals, Nurdin said that the local administration will transport them back home after they undergo 14-day of isolation. The transportation will only be available for those living in the vicinity of South Sulawesi.
As an effort of repatriation for the foreign participants, Nurdin said that he is in talks with air carriers to help provide tickets to transport them home, which nearly comprises 474 people from 12 countries.
On the other hand, the foreign participants have arrived at the region three months prior to the coronavirus spread, as claimed by the organizer of the World Ijtima Asia gathering, Mustari Burhanuddin. However, he said that organizers will adhere to the government’s advice upon limiting public gatherings amid the plague.