The Tablighi Jamaat congregation that supposedly happened between March 10th -14th has become a new center of the coronavirus spread as over 1,500 people attended the event. Among them were 250 foreigners. Here is a look at how things unfolded.
The Build-up to the event
By the second week of March, while India had recorded cases of coronavirus, there wasn’t a lockdown announced yet. It was only on the 24th of March that the Prime Minister announced the entire country to go into the lockdown. Also, the Delhi government’s orders of suspending mass gatherings came on the 16th of March.
At their New Delhi headquarters, the Tablighi Jamaat organized a massive event for which close to 1,500 people were in attendance. People flew in from other countries.
Among the foreign nationals who arrived for the event, all of them were from Saudi Arabia, Malaysia or Indonesia. Back in the second week of March, the Indian airports only screened passengers coming from the coronavirus hotspots like Italy, United Kingdom, Iran or China.
Post the event, many are believed to have traveled to other states. Everything went unnoticed until a 65-year-old man died in Jammu and Kashmir who died of coronavirus and had taken part in the congregation.
Within days, more patients who had attended the congregation began testing positive in various states like Telangana, Kerala, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. By Sunday, there were at least 20 positive cases who had either been directly or indirectly linked to the congregation.
On Monday, Delhi reported 25 fresh cases of coronavirus out of which 18 had been to the congregation. On the same day, Telangana reported five deaths who took part in the event. A death each in Karnataka and Maharashtra related to the event has also been reported.
The Plan of Action
85 preachers of the Jamaat were shifted to Lok Nayak Hospital whereas six who were confirmed positive were shifted to AIIMS. Another group of 200 were also shifted to the Lok Nayak Hospital who had symptoms of cough, fever, and breathlessness. According to a senior doctor, the chances of them turning out to be COVID-19 positive is high. With 54 people, the Delhi government used 30,000 liters of disinfectant to clean the area.
Another hotspot Tamil Nadu is also linked to the Jamaat congregation. Among the 38 new cases reported on Monday, many of them were found to be a part of the event. The state is now trying to trace 980 Tamil Muslims who took part in the congregation.
Despite the measures, a worrying nightmare is that at least 20,000 residents are scattered around the area who might have been exposed to the virus. A daunting task now stares the country which already is falling short in various departments.