Twenty-four people in Delhi, 50 in Tamil Nadu, 15 in Telangana, 9 in Andaman and Nicobar and at least 11 people in Andhra Pradesh who attended the Markaz Nizamuddin gathering in Delhi have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, government officials said on Tuesday.
The Telangana government said late Monday night that six people who attended the Nizamuddin congregation had died of Covid-19 in the state.
Over 2,000 delegates, including from Indonesia and Malaysia, had attended the Tabligh-e-Jamaat congregation at the Markaz building in Nizamuddin West from March 1-15, officials said.
The Delhi Police had on Monday cordoned off a major area in Nizamuddin West where several people showed symptoms of being infected with the virus after taking part in the event earlier this month, officials said.
On Tuesday, Satyendar Jain told reporters: “We are not certain of the number but it is estimated that 1500-1700 people had assembled at Markaz building. 1033 people have been evacuated so far 334 of them have been sent to hospital and 700 sent to quarantine center.”
Later in the day, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said: “Till now 1,548 people have been brought out of Markaz (Nizamuddin), 441 of them were symptomatic. They have been shifted to hospitals and their tests are being conducted. 1,107 who did not show symptoms have been sent to quarantine.”
Andhra Pradesh reported 17 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday of which 11 patients had attended the Nizamuddin event. Andaman and Nicobar’s health official said nine of the 10 patients who tested positive in the Union Territory had also taken part in the gathering.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh police said it was searching for 157 people from the state who had attended the event.
Bhopal Collector said the city had quarantined 36 people who had attended the event in Delhi.
As questions were raised about how the event took place amidst restrictions on people’s movements, the Nizamuddin Markaz released a press note detailing when it had taken place, how the announcement of lockdowns affected the dispersal of the people and how they had kept authorities informed.
Delhi Police Commissioner said that a case had been registered against Maulana Saad and others of Tableeghi Jamaat under Epidemic Disease Act 1897 and other sections of the IPC for violation of government directions given to the management of Markaz of Basti Nizamuddin, regarding restrictions on gatherings.
How the cases came light
A cleric who was at the event had died in Srinagar last week, while 11 Indonesians tested positive in Telangana. The mosque congregation was found to be a common factor between them, NDTV reported.
Delhi Police, CRPF officials and medical teams went to the locality late on Sunday night after reports said a large number of people were showing symptoms for the disease.
Nearly 30,000 people reside in Nizamuddin west and Nizamuddin Basti area, according to PTI.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern Range) Devesh Srivastava said: “We were approached by the health department after they suspected them of having symptoms related to coronvirus.”
“We have isolated the Markaj building (of Tabligh-e-Jamaat) from rest of the area where the gathering had taken place. We are assisting the health department in taking out people for check-ups,” Srivastava said.
The joint Delhi Police-CRPF-medical team has been checking people and shifting them to designated hospitals for quarantining, officials told PTI.
“As many as 85 people were brought to LNJP Hospital on Sunday from Nizamuddin area and 68 were brought today, so a total of 153 are admitted in isolation wards and being tested for infection,” LNJP MS Dr J C Passey had said on Monday.
On Monday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had ordered the registration of an FIR against a maulana for leading the congregation in West Nizamuddin, reports said.
According to officials, there were several smaller congregations culminating in the big meeting at the headquarters of the organisation which shares its wall with the Nizamuddin police station and is adjacent to the famous shrine of Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya.
The congregation was attended by preachers from several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Dubai, Uzbekistan and Malaysia. About 600 Indians from different parts of the country also participated.
The Indian members of the group left on trains and flights. Contacts of a few cases that were identified in several parts of the country were traced to the congregation, the officials said.
The NewsMinute reports that the Indonesians who tested positive in Telangana had boarded the coach number S9 of the AP Sampark Kranti Express (Train no: 12708) at Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station in Delhi on March 13 and gotten off at Ramagundam in Telangana on March 14, before travelling to Karimnagar by road.
The first patient who reported symptoms of the virus was admitted to a hospital on March 17. Karimnagar District Headquarters Hospital has set up a special counter and appealed for people showing symptoms to get treatment, TNM’s report said. (Covid-19 helpline for Karimnagar Collectorate is 0878-2234732)
A senior police official told PTI, a notice has been served to the organisation for violating prohibitory orders and restrictions imposed owing to the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Sources told PTI that the Delhi government would launch a house-to-house mapping exercise in two nearby colonies on Tuesday to check for coronavirus cases.
Councillor of Daryaganj ward under which the area falls, Yasmin Kidwai blamed the government.
“This was a ticking bomb waiting to explode. The government is to be blamed for letting people come in from different countries when the threat of coronavirus has been looming on India and it had started spreading.”
Kidwai said she is making efforts for repeated sanitisation of the area.
A door-to-door sanitisation is also being planned, she said.
Congress leader and former area Municipal Councillor Farhad Suri said it was a “lapse” and now all efforts should be made fight the outbreak.
“As far as I know most of the foreign delegates came from Malaysia and Indonesia where cases of coronavirus infection have been found. The establishment should have stopped them when they landed in India. Many other people came back to India even after the lockdown was declared. So it’s not the time to point fingers but work together to prevent the spread of the virus,” Suri said.
Delhi reported 25 news cases on Monday, taking the total number of coronavirus cases in the national capital to 97, the health department said.
(With PTI inputs)