A religious congregation in New Delhi's Nizamuddin has put India in a precarious situation. At least 2,000 people, including foreigners and Indians from across the country, attended a Tabligh-e-Jamaat from March 1-15 in the south Delhi neighborhood. At a time when the nation is placed in complete lockdown, this came as a jolt from the blue. It was on Sunday night first when many residents of the center started showing symptoms for coronavirus infection. This triggered panic and confirmed fears of a major population being in perils since the attendees were from across the country. Among the foreigners who attended the congregation were people from Indonesia and Malaysia.
Even though the authorities have launched a nationwide search for participants of the religious gathering, it is sure that the impact is going to be huge with the sole fact that the attendees could have carried the infection to the length and breadth of the country. These participants are known to have returned to their homes in virtually every state including Telangana, West Bengal, Karnataka, Assam, Gujarat and more.
A LOOK AT THE CONTACT TRAIL
A 65-year-old man in Kashmir died of the coronavirus. Let's have a look at his travel details and gauge the potential damage. The person was in Kashmir on February 15. He stayed in Delhi for three days March 5 onwards, and attended the Tabligh-e-Jamaat gathering. He then went to Deoband in Uttar Pradesh on March, exposing himself to hundreds of teachers and students. From Deoband he travelled back towards Jammu by a train on March 11, stayed in Samba from March 12 to March 16, returned to Srinagar via Jammu. On his arrival on March 18, he attended a religious gathering in Srinagar, and on March 22 he fell sick. He was found coronavirus positive the next day and died on March 26.
Assam government has found names of 456 people from the state who were present in and around Nizamuddin. Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in fact, hinted that the number could go up. Meanwhile, Sarma has directed police officials to ensure strict measures for all those who returned from the hotspot in Nizamuddin. All 456 people were ordered to be quarantined. The returnees were asked to voluntarily go to the nearest hospital or make a call on the state helpline number 104.
As many as 76 people had attended the gathering from Surat alone. A probe has been ordered to identify all the attendees. According to primary investigations, some persons were from Bhavnagar too. The state health department will initiate home quarantine for the returnees. Meanwhile, the state has also formed teams to identify and locate them.
The Manipur government has also traced 14 people who were linked to the religious congregation. The state government received a list of these names along with phone numbers from the Centre. Of them, three have been taken for testing and the remaining 11 will be screened. State DGP said anyone from the state who attended the gathering, or who stayed in the vicinity of the venue or passed near it, should get themselves tested at the nearest government hospital failing which legal actions will be taken up against them. Chief Minister N Biren Singh appealed to the people of the state who had attended the congregation to come forward for a COVID-19 test.
As many as 101 attendees from Chhattisgarh have been identified from Chhattisgarh. Of these, 32 have been placed under quarantine while 69 are in isolation in different places. The health department has directed officials to identify and trace all those who attended the event and carry out their medical examination.
Uttar Pradesh has traced 157 people from the state. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said, "around 95 percent" of this number have been traced and are being tested for coronavirus. The tests so far have come out negative. Only 10 to 12 people are yet to be identified.