The Covid-19 fight hits at full speed; nationwide search for thousands of Tablighi-linked suspects as count nears 1,900

NEW DELHI: In a large-scale hunt across the country, authorities from all states identified more than 6,000 people who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation, India's largest access point, as more emerged on Wednesday out of 375 new cases of infection to account for nearly 1,900 with at least 55 deaths.

More than 5,000 of those identified who attended the congregation have been quarantined, including in hospitals in all states, while efforts are being made to trace another 2,000 included in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

The list also includes foreigners, while some of those identified by state authorities have not yet returned from Delhi to their respective places of origin.

Authorities attributed the huge increase in the number of largely confirmed cases to the Tablighi Jamaat, an Orthodox Muslim society created nearly 100 years ago by Islamic scholar Deobandi Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Khandhalawi as a movement for religious reform and to spread the faith.

The latest update from the Union Ministry of Health put the national count of confirmed Covid-19 cases at 1,637, after 376 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, and the death count at 38. But the numbers announced by different states and union territories totaled 1,894 with at least 55 deaths.

Ministry officials said cases have largely increased due to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation, which took place in mid-March and therefore technically shows no national trend. They urged people to follow the guidelines during the closing period and avoid congregations, including religious gatherings.

Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi were among the locations to report a large number of new cases.

In Delhi, authorities said coronavirus cases have increased to 152, including 53 who attended the Nizamuddin congregation.

The number in Maharashtra increased from 33 to 335 on Wednesday, including 30 in Mumbai alone. The count may increase further as nearly 5,000 quarantined people are in the high-risk category, according to the state government.

In Tamil Nadu, 110 people who returned from Tablighi Jamaat gathered in Delhi tested positive, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 234.

In Tamil Nadu, at least 515 people have been identified as having attended the Nizamuddin meeting, while at least 59 of them have been quarantined. Prime Minister K Palaniswami said 1,131 men have returned to the state from the approximately 1,500 people who attended the event.

In Telangana, 50 of the 57 positive cases had attended the meeting, while state authorities identified and quarantined at least 840 people linked to the event. The search is underway for another 160.

Also in Delhi, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said 2,361 people were evacuated from the Nizamuddin congregation site, of whom 617 have been admitted to hospitals for showing symptoms of Covid-19 while the rest are in quarantine.

Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal said authorities are tracking the mobile phones of the quarantined people to verify their movement.

The Center also called on all Union states and territories on Wednesday to initiate on a war footing the follow-up of contacts of all participants of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin in Delhi, which has become the coronavirus access point. .

In a video conference with the chief secretaries and DGPs of all the states and territories of the Union (UT), the cabinet secretary, Rajiv Gauba, also asked them to take action against the foreigners, who participated in the missionary activities of the Tablighi Jamaat , for violation of visa conditions.

In Karnataka, at least 50 foreigners have been quarantined after they were found to have attended the congregation, while 12 others are said to have left the country. State authorities also identified 342 Indians who attended the event, of whom nearly 200 were quarantined.

The Uttar Pradesh government has also ordered to quarantine 569 people for attending the congregation, while Gujarat has so far quarantined at least 85 and mass persecution is taking place, as it was discovered that close to 1,500 from the state participated in the religious meeting.

The Gujarat High Court, separately, also issued a notice to the central and state governments about the Nizamuddin congregation.

The Uttarakhand government also identified 26 people, but said they had not yet returned from Delhi.

In Rajasthan, government officials said 538 people could have traveled to various parts of the state after attending the event.

At least 81 returnees from Tablighi Jamaat are suspected to be in Bihar, of whom 30 have been identified, while Assam has reported four new confirmed cases of fatal virus infection, all of whom had attended the Tablighi meeting. Jamaat.

Amid intense efforts to contain the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra will also hold a video conference with all the chief ministers on Thursday during which there are likely to be problems as ways to contain the spread of Covid-19, the movement of migrants and tracing of contacts of Tablighi Jamat participants. to argue, the sources said.

The availability of essential items will also be discussed during the conference in the wake of the ongoing national blockade, which entered on the eighth day of Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the military has made more than 9,000 hospital beds and more than 8,500 doctors and support personnel available across the country to deal with growing cases of coronavirus infection, while Railways has also converted some of their coaches in isolation rooms.

India is also seeking South Korea, Germany and China for the acquisition of state-of-the-art technology and is adopting best practices followed by them to successfully contain the spread of the coronavirus amid the imminent risk of the country entering the stage of Community infection of the pandemic, authorities said. .

New cases of infection reported Wednesday included some doctors and a police officer as well.

More than 43,000 people have died from Covid-19 worldwide so far since December, while more than 8.6 lakh infections have been reported so far. Almost half of the world's population is currently under partial or total blockade, which is also affecting the economy.