Delhi Markaz Declared COVID Hotspot, Centre Alerted States Last Week

NDTV:The Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz —  a building at south Delhi’s Nizamuddin area — has been declared a coronavirus “hotspot” by the centre. Of the thousands who attended an 8-day religious programme earlier this month, more than 90 people have contracted the virus there, presumably from people from abroad who attended it. Seven persons- one of them in Jammu and Kashmir, and six in Telangana – are dead.

On March 28, the home ministry wrote to state governments, saying it “received information that foreign delegates of Tabligh Jamaat — the religious organization holding the event —  are on tour of Indian hinterland and are believed to be carriers of COVID-19”. The ministry had asked the police from all states to locate, screen and quarantine them.

So far, 91 people who were among the attendees at the programme and their contacts, have tested positive for the virus. The highest number, 50, was detected in Tamil Nadu, which was given a list of more than 1,100 people to trace.

Besides, a huge contact tracing programme is on across multiple states – including Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh – for people who attended the Delhi religious event.

In Delhi, more than 300 people are under observation at different hospitals. This evening, two more people who were showing symptoms, were taken straight to the hospital from the Markaz.

More than 1200 members of Tablighi Jamaat have been quarantined. According to information released by home ministry, all members of the Tablighi Jamaat, who were staying at the Markaz – a hostel-cum prayer hall — are being medically screened since March 26.

So far, 1,203 Jamaat workers have been medically screened. Those not hospitalized have been moved to different quarantine centres across the city. “We are shifting them after medical examination. Each member of Markaz would be moved out of Nizamuddin,” said a senior government official.

The sudden rise in the number of positive cases has set off alarm bells in the security establishment. Home ministry data shows 824 foreigners — especially from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan — came to India in connection with Tablighi activities and visited various parts of country.

Around 216 of them were at the Nizamuddin Markaz. The rest have gone back before the 21-day lockdown was announced last week by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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