March 31, 2020
Tamil Nadu is facing a grim situation as it attempts to trace around 1200 persons who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Markaz Banglewali mosque in Delhi.
The state has already traced 891 persons who attended the event. Another 400 are currently in Delhi under isolation.
The break up of the districts that the 891 persons belong to is given below.
As per a senior bureaucrat, “Over 1200 persons from Tamil Nadu participated in the conference at Delhi. We have traced 891 persons in Tamil Nadu. Out of 20 tested in Erode, 10 turned positive now. Another 400 are stranded in Delhi who are being screened. There are about 1500 still there from various states and not cooperating with authorities. The fear is that many are turning positive. This is going to be a big challenge to every one of us,” he said.
There are three groups of people that the state is attempting to identify and quarantine. Contact tracing is underway. The first two groups arrived in February itself, before there were any restrictions on air travel from abroad.
The first set of people that the state has already traced are 125 foreign preachers from Indonesia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and other countries. This group split into 13 groups of preachers and moved around 13 districts in Tamil Nadu. While the state has managed to identify and screen all 125, it is now in the process of identifying who they came in contact with. Containment measures have already been initiated for the areas visited by this group of 125 preachers.
The second set of people numbered 79 foreign preachers. They split up into eight groups and moved around eight districts in Tamil Nadu. District authorities have been instructed to identify the areas they went to and launch containment measures. Contact tracing is proving to be very tough in these cases as the preachers moved around uninhibited, said a senior bureaucrat. This group later went to Delhi for the Nizamuddin event.
This, according to sources in the state government, is the reason for the sudden spike in positive cases in Erode, Salem and Madurai. On March 30 alone, 10 new positive cases were reported in Erode.
In Anamalai, near Coimbatore, a 40-year-old man was identified as having attended the Nizamuddin meeting. He, along with six of his primary contacts, have been moved to ESI Hospital in Coimbatore for quarantine. 500 houses surrounding the area he lived in have been sprayed with disinfectants using a fire engine as seen in the visuals below.
The state government is on tenterhooks as they try to trace the remaining persons who attended the Nizamuddin meeting.
Six people, who tested positive for COVID-19, have died in Telangana. All of these people had attended the Nizamuddin event.
The state health department said that they had alerted the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), New Delhi, about the possibility of mass transmission of the novel coronavirus in other states.
“It has become a national issue as people from all Indian states had participated in the meet. There is a need for all states to identify people who were present at Markaz (mosque) between March 13 and 15 and isolate all of them, including their close contacts,” sources in the health department told The Lede.
The state government of Telangana has issued an urgent appeal asking those who attended the meeting in Delhi’s Nizamuddin to voluntarily report to the authorities.
The state government has released a list of districts and the number of people who attended the large event of in late March. The list is as follows.
The state government had upped the ante in the wake of a 75-year-old man, a resident of Khairtabad, dying with symptoms of COVID-19 on March 28. While the state government had only announced that the patient had a travel history to a religious event in Delhi, Saifabad police confirmed to The Lede that he did in fact attend the Nizamuddin event.
Upon return to Telangana at an undisclosed date, he had reported an eye problem and went to get it checked. Following this, he developed high fever and respiratory distress and his family admitted him to a private hospital nearby. When it got worse, he was taken to a larger private hospital, where he died.
The private hospital informed the authorities about him having symptoms of COVID-19 and his samples were tested. They returned positive. The man’s wife and son are currently under quarantine.
Telangana has seen a big spike in the number of cases of COVID-19, following the tracing and testing of those who attended the meeting in Nizamuddin. As on March 31, the state had announced a total of 76 positive cases with 10 discharged after treatment.
The third COVID-19 death recorded in Karnataka appears to have been that of a person who attended the Nizamuddin meeting. A 65-year-old man from Sira in Tumakuru was the victim.
The manager of a local madarassa, he, along with 13 others, boarded the Sampark Kranti train on March 05 and reached Delhi on March 07. They went by taxis to the Jamia Masjid and stayed there.
On March 11, he returned to Yeshwantpur via the Kongu Express train and reached in the wee hours of March 14. He took a KSRTC bus from there to Sira and stayed there for a few days.
“Since he stayed at the Jamia Masjid in Delhi from March 07 to 11, we are tracing all his contacts and coordinating with the Delhi government,” said Jawaid Akhtar, Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, government of Karnataka.
Four days after he reached Sira, he developed a cough and fever and went to a private hospital in Sira itself. On March 21, he again visited a private clinic and was referred to the district hospital.
On March 23, he visited the district hospital as an outpatient and returned to Sira. The next day he was admitted with Severe Acute Respiratory Infection and was moved to the isolation ward.
He passed away on March 27, according to district authorities.
Eight of his family members have been kept in home quarantine along with the 13 others who travelled with him. Of the family members, one boy, a 13-year-old has tested positive, while the others tested negative.
Andhra has reported one case of a COVID-19 positive man who had attended the Nizamuddin event. He has died.
Andhra government officials were not available to provide further details.
We will bring you updates as we get them.
A 29-year-old doctor and her 10-month-old daughter, from Kottayam, tested positive for COVID-19 in the Indian Railway Hospital, Coimbatore where she works.
Authorities state that she came into indirect contact with a Thai national who was one of the preachers.
The Kerala state government could not be reached to find out whether they had details of any other persons who attended the Nizamuddin meeting from the state.
Sources in the investigating agencies tasked with tracing those who had gathered at the mosque in Nizamuddin told The Lede that approximately 2054 people had gathered at the mosque.
Some of them went to a Tablighi Jamaat conference held in Malaysia between February 27 and March 01, say investigating officers, although there is no clear number to those who attended the Malaysian conference.
According to an Al Jazeera report on the conference in Malaysia, out of 16,000 people who attended the event, 1500 were foreigners. Nearly two-thirds of Malaysia’s positive cases have their roots at that particular conference, according to the report.
According to the agencies, the list of districts where the attendees of the Nizamuddin event hail from are as follows.
Kerala: Kannur, Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Kollam
Tamil Nadu: Chennai, Erode, Salem, Coimbatore, Vellore, Tirupur, Tirunelveli, Chengalpet
Andhra Pradesh: Vizag, Guntur, Nellore, Kurnool, Chittoor
Other states: Panipat and Palwal
This is a developing story and The Lede will bring you more updates shortly.