1 April 2020 – New Delhi: More than a hundred people have tested positive for coronavirus and a nationwide manhunt is on for suspected cases after a large religious gathering at Delhi’s Nizamuddin that has emerged as a virus hotspot with links to seven COVID-19 deaths. Nearly 1,900 people have been evacuated from “Markaz Nizamuddin”, the Delhi headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat group, since Sunday and at least 441 in Delhi have shown symptoms of the virus. In the middle of a national lockdown, hundreds of people had been staying at the facility for weeks.
Over 1,100 are now quarantined in different parts of the city and lanes near the religious centre have been taped off by officials in hazmat suits. A police case has been filed against the mosque administration. The home ministry has instructed states to track down Tablighi members who travelled to various parts of the country after the two-day gathering on March 8-10.
The Tablighi Jamaat is an Islamic missionary movement set up in 1926, with members across the world. Similar events held in Malaysia and Pakistan in February-March have been linked to virus cases.
300 foreigners who were on tourist visa and attended the religious event, face blacklisting. The government has also decided to not issue tourist visa to any foreigner who wishes to visit India and take part in Tablighi Jamaat activities, officials said.
50 have tested positive in Tamil Nadu, 24 in Delhi, 21 in Telangana, 18 in Andhra Pradesh, 10 in Andamans and one each in Assam and Kashmir after attending the gathering. 824 foreigners had also travelled to different states and their details had been shared with the police chiefs, the home ministry said.
Six people have died in Telangana. A man who died in Srinagar had visited the Deoband seminary in UP. Ten more, who returned to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, have tested positive. 1,800 are quarantined in Andamans. More than 100 people from Kashmir attended the gathering and Andhra Pradesh is trying to trace 700 members.