Govts race to curb spread as hundreds from Tablighi meet show symptoms
Government authorities are tackling a logistical nightmare as they try to map the movements of thousands of people who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation end-February and early March in New Delhi and then dispersed, many carrying the novel coronavirus to states across the length and breadth of India.
The aim is to stop those who attended the congregation, and the people they came into contact with, from inadvertently creating new clusters of infection across the country. The magnitude of the task is immense: three southern states — Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka — were trying to track at least 2,500 people, many of who had tested positive for Covid-19.
Authorities believe several clerics from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, who transited through the Tablighi Jamaat markaz (centre) in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin West, may have been the original source of the infections in the cluster.
At least eight Muslim attendees are dead — six from Telangana, and one each from Tamil Nadu and New Delhi.
In Kashmir, in the far north, 855 people (at least 167 attendees and people in contact with them) were being traced; only nine had been found. In Tamil Nadu, in the deepest south, the state was tracking at least 1,500 people, 300 of whom were still untraceable as of Tuesday night.
Nearly 300 people from across Karnataka attended the congregation, state home minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Tuesday, creating a “dangerous situation”. Only 26 of the delegates (all from Bidar) have been traced. The Tumakuru preacher who attended the meet is learned to have had direct contact with at least 82 people, including 45 family members. The 26 delegates who were traced all tested negative, state health minister B Sreeramulu tweeted.