Coronavirus outbreak | 9,000 with Tablighi Jamaat link sent into quarantine

An officer collects details of preachers from Indonesia who had attended Tablighi event, in Belagavi on Wednesday.  

At least 9,000 Tablighi Jamaat workers and their primary contacts have been quarantined across the country after the sect’s headquarters in Nizamuddin, New Delhi, emerged as a hotspot of novel coronavirus, the government said on Thursday.

Around 500 COVID-19 cases in the country are linked to a gathering of Indian and foreign members of the organisation last month. The number in Delhi alone stood at 182 on Thursday, when 129 more people from the centre tested positive and two died.

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The government has cancelled the visas of 960 foreigners who participated in the meeting. They have been blacklisted, and legal action under the Foreigners Act and the Disaster Management Act against them will follow, a tweet from the office of the Union Home Minister said.

There are 1,306 foreigners among the 9,000 in quarantine, Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary in the Ministry, told reporters. Around 250 of them were at the Delhi centre when the authorities evacuated it this week, but the rest had fanned out to other parts of the country.

A total of 2,346 people were evacuated and 536 were sent to hospitals and 1,810 were quarantined in an operation on Wednesday, the Delhi government said.

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“We have also been checking and evacuating people from other mosques in the city, who had visited the Markaz (centre) last month. Till now, we have evacuated about 400 people from other mosques, and they have been moved to hospital and quarantine facilities. There are a lot of mosques, and it is an ongoing process,” a Delhi official said. The people evacuated from these mosques are not yet tested, the official said. “Where will we go for these many testing kits? There is some delay in testing kits reaching us due to the lockdown,” the official added.

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Three Bangladeshi nationals, who had visited the Tablighi centre, tested positive for COVID-19 at Palwal, Haryana. The district administration has declared five villages as “containment zone” following the test results and suspended the Sarpanches for concealing information about them. Besides, 109 more visitors to the centre were traced from different parts of the district late on Wednesday night. Ms. Srivastava said the Home Ministry was coordinating a “massive effort” to trace all contacts linked to the gathering.

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Meanwhile, the chief of the centre, Maulana Saad, has asked all members to cooperate with local authorities. In a new audio clip, he can be heard saying, “People should follow the guidelines and advice of doctors. I myself am in isolation and people should follow the instructions.”

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 4:53:59 AM |

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