A total of 808 Tablighi Jamaat workers have been placed under mandatory quarantine in Karnataka, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said on Wednesday, as he asserted his government was working "beyond its strength" to control the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
More than 1,300 people from the state had attended the congregation of the jamaat in Delhi last month and information regarding all of them had been collected, he said in an interview to PTI.
Tablighi-Jamaat congregation held at Nizamuddin in Delhi has turned out to be the hotbed of COVID-19 spread in the country with several people who attended it and their contacts testing positive for coronavirus.
"...276 Tablighi-Jamaat workers have been identified in Bengaluru and have been kept in quarantine...482 Jamaat workers have been identified in different parts of Karnataka; total 808 Tablighi-Jamaat workers have mandatorily been kept in quarantine in the state" Yediyurappa said.
He said 581 other jamaat workers now in other states have been identified and the respective states informed about them. Besides, as many as 57 Tablighi Jamaat workers belonging to foreign countries have travelled to various parts of Karnataka such as Bidar, Belagavi, Tumakuru and Bengaluru, they have been identified and quarantined, he added.
FIRs have been registered against them with a direction to blacklist them for violating visa norms, he said.
"Twenty are from Indonesia, one the United Kingdom, four from South Africa, three from Gambia, 19 from Kyrgyzstan, one USA, one France, one Kenya and seven from Bangladesh," he said.
The Chief Minister reiterated that no one should target any particular community for the spread of virus.
"No one should do it (blame), we are taking actions against certain people, booking cases (against those evading tests and spreading virus), unnecessarily making such comments will lead to relationship getting spoiled, don't give opportunity to it. This is my request," he said.
Yediyurappa was responding to comments by certain sections, including his party members, targeting a particular community, despite his warning that action would be taken against those blaming an entire community for isolated incidents.
Stating that his government was working beyond its strength to stop the spread of COVID-19in the state, the Chief Minister said, We have taken strong measures to implement the lockdown.
"We have seized 28,000 vehicles in the state, in Bengaluru alone 18,000 vehicles, 1,670 people were arrested, 1091 FIR has been booked, Rs 40 lakh fine has been collected," he said.
Regarding medical equipment, he said, whether it is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kits or N95 masks or triple layer masks or rapid COVID-19 test kits, we have given orders for it, we have sufficient stock also.
Highlighting measures taken by his government for poor, daily wage workers and needy like supply of food and food grains, deposits into bank accounts of construction labourers among other things, Yediyurappa said, many big organisations, NGOs and industrialists have come forward to help.
Asked whether there was fear of COVID-19 entering third stage (community transmission), he said, "we are discussing with experts... as of now it is under control in our state,but most experts believe that it may increase in April end and
May first week. We are keeping watch."He also said things were not completely in government's hand and people should cooperate by maintaining social distance and staying at home.
"This is the only medicine," he added.