MAKASSAR, Indonesia — Indonesia halted a mass congregation of nearly 9,000 Muslim pilgrims and began quarantining them and checking their health Thursday to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus amid a spike in cases.The four-day gathering at a boarding school in a rural area in south Sulawesi province wasn’t approved by authorities and drew fears it could spread the virus widely in the world’s fourth most populous nation.It was organized by a Muslim missionary movement, Jamaat Tabligh, which held a similar event in Malaysia three weeks ago that has been linked to nearly two-thirds of that country’s 900 infections as well as dozens of cases in other nations.South Sulawesi Gov. Nurdin Abdullah said medical teams screening more than 8,600 participants found a local man with fever who was taken to a hospital.“We’ve worked hard in dealing with this issue, involving religious leaders and security forces. We have told the pilgrims that we are in an emergency state of coronavirus and only common discipline can break the COVID-19’s wide spread,” Abdullah said.The move came as Indonesia reported six more deaths for a total of 25, the most in Southeast Asia, and its biggest daily jump of 82 cases to 309.Pictures


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