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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Coronavirus highlights: Race to trace contacts of Tabligh meet continues as India cases cross 1,800 mark

Health Ministry officials have attributed the rise in the number of cases to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation, which took place in mid-March, but said that it, however, does not show a national trend.

By: Express Web Desk | Hyderabad, Kochi, New Delhi |
Updated: April 2, 2020 8:13:50 am
People queue outside a fair price shop in Kolkata on Wednesday. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

As India reported new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours taking the nationwide tally of the confirmed cases at 1,834, including 41 deaths, authorities across states have identified more than 6,000 people who attended the Nizamuddin Tablighi Jamaat congregation, the biggest coronavirus hotspot in the country. More than 5,000 of those identified to have attended the congregation have been quarantined, including in hospitals across states, while efforts are on to trace another 2,000 including in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

Follow live updates on the coronavirus pandemic in India, world

Health Ministry officials have attributed the rise in the number of cases to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation, which took place in mid-March, but said that it, however, does not show a national trend. They urged people to follow guidelines during the lockdown period and avoid congregations, including religious gatherings. The Centre also asked all states and Union Territories to launch on a “war footing” the contact tracing of all participants of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin, which has emerged as the coronavirus hotspot.

 In the United States, the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 4,000 early Wednesday, more than double the number from three days earlier, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. President Donald Trump warned Americans to brace for a “hell of a bad two weeks” ahead as the White House projected there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the US even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the pandemic the most challenging crisis since World War II and one that will bring a recession “that probably has no parallel in the recent past.”

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India sees biggest single-day jump in COVID-19 cases. Delhi's Markaz Nizamuddin has emerged as one of the coronavirus hotspots. Follow LIVE updates on the virus in India, Italy, the United States and other countries in Bangla, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Malayalam.

01:56 (IST)02 Apr 2020
Cop26 climate talks set to take place in Glasgow postponed to 2021

Key UN climate talks which were set to take place in Glasgow in November have been postponed until 2021, The Guardian reported. Announcing the postponement of Cop26, its president-designate and the UK’s business secretary, Alok Sharma, said: "The world is currently facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focusing their efforts on saving lives and fighting Covid-19. That is why we have decided to reschedule Cop26. We will continue working tirelessly with our partners to deliver the ambition needed to tackle the climate crisis and I look forward to agreeing a new date for the conference."

01:53 (IST)02 Apr 2020
Coronavirus outbreak: 10 Tablighi reached Telangana on March 13, met hundreds

A group of 10 religious preachers from Indonesia, who tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Telangana, should have set alarm bells ringing in the country’s fight against the spread of the disease. They had participated in the Tablighi Jamaat meeting at the Alami Markaz (headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat) in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin, and had reached Ramagundem in Telangana on March 13 by AP Sampark Kranti Express before they were tested positive.

01:09 (IST)02 Apr 2020
Identification of attendees at Markaz Nizamuddin: Gujarat HC seeks status report from state, centre

Taking cognizance of news reports saying that at least 200 people who attended a gathering at Markaz Nizamuddin have traveled to the state, and maybe infected with COVID-19, the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday called for an urgent hearing over the matter and sought a detailed status report from the Centre and state government by April 3.

The high court has sought a detailed status report from the Centre of all the persons who entered Gujarat and were part of the gathering, regardless of nationality. In case it is a foreign national, details including nationality, purpose of their visit and nature of visas for those foreign nationals should also be sought, the court said. READ MORE

01:02 (IST)02 Apr 2020
Mumbai: Newborn tests positive, suspected to have caught infection at Sai hospital

A three-day-old boy on Wednesday tested positive for COVID-19, suspected to have caught the virus from the bed occupied by an infected patient before it was allotted to his mother at Sai hospital in Mumbai. While the mother has also tested positive, the boy is the state’s youngest COVID-19 patient.

The newborn was delivered at the Chembur-based hospital on March 26. On Tuesday, the mother and son were shifted to Kurla Bhabha hospital and later to Kasturba Hospital. The family claimed no paediatrician had visited the baby and the mother at Kasturba Hospital – the nodal centre for COVID-19 cases in Mumbai – since they had been admitted there. Read more

00:59 (IST)02 Apr 2020
Manipur: One more person who attended Markaz found positive, total 2 cases in state, says CM

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh tweeted Thursday that there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. 

00:23 (IST)02 Apr 2020
Three more cases in Assam, total cases soar to 16

Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted late on Wednesday night: 'Alert ~ 3 more #COVID19 positive cases in Goalpara, Assam, taking the total to 16. These three new cases are also of those who joined #TablighiJamaat congregation at #NizamuddinMarkaz.'  READ MORE

23:36 (IST)01 Apr 2020
Health ministry releases new figures, total 1,834 cases recorded

The Union Health Ministry stated Tuesday night that India's total figure for coronavirus cases stands at 1,834 which includes a total of 41 deaths as well.

23:17 (IST)01 Apr 2020
Padma Shri recipient Nirmal Singh tests positive for COVID-19

Padma Shri recipient and former "Hazoori Raagi" at the Golden Temple, Nirmal Singh, has tested positive for coronavirus, a health official said on Wednesday. The report of the samples of the 62-year-old "Gurbani" exponent came positive, Civil Surgeon Prabhdeep Kaur Johal said here.

Singh, who recently returned from abroad, was admitted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital after he complained of breathlessness and dizziness on March 30, she said. Meanwhile, police sealed the area around Singh's residence to check the spread of the infection. According to officials, Singh had held a large 'sammelan' (religious gathering) in Delhi and some other places after he returned from abroad. (PTI)

23:12 (IST)01 Apr 2020
WHO gives update on the global coronavirus outbreak

World Health Organizaton briefs the media about the Coronavirus pandemic.

23:05 (IST)01 Apr 2020
10 more test positive in West Bengal

The West Bengal government's Department of Health and Family Welfare announced on Wednesday evening that 10 more people — three females and seven males — have tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 1. This brings the total number of cases in West Bengal to 37. The government also stated that three patients have died but it is not confirmed whether the cause of death was COVID-19.

22:40 (IST)01 Apr 2020
After Karnataka farmers dump produce; govt decides to direct it towards needy

In the wake of milkmen in Karnataka’s Belagavi throwing away an estimated 1,500 litres of milk due to COVID-19 lockdown, the state government has decided to purchase excess milk procured by the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) and distribute it free of cost to residents residing in slums and poor people through local municipal bodies from Thursday. READ MORE

22:32 (IST)01 Apr 2020
Rajasthan: 11 persons who had visited Nizamuddin Markaz tested positive

11 individuals who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in the national capital have been tested positive in Rajasthan.

22:22 (IST)01 Apr 2020
J&K: Committee recommends releasing prisoners on parole

A high powered committee comprising chairperson Justice Rajesh Bindal on Wednesday recommended the UT government release all the prisoners on eight-week special parole who had been convicted in one case have spent more than 10 years in jail. The parole is extendable to another eight weeks if lockdown by the government continues, it said, recommending in case of female prisoners the period of detention in jail shall be eight years.

However, special parole will not be available to convicts involved in militancy related cases, intermediate or large recovery of narcotics, or under the POCSO Act. This concession will also be not available to prisoners convicted for an offense against woman, acid attack, or foreign nationals.

Constituted by the UT Government on directions of Supreme Court to de-congest jails in view of the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in the country, the high powered committee had members in Principal Secretary Home Shaleen Kabra and Director General of Police (Prisons) V K Singh.

It also recommended release of all those on special parole who have been sentenced to three years imprisonment with or without fine and their conviction has been upheld by the appellate court, but their revision petition is pending before the high court, as also those who have completed their sentence but are still in prison due to non-payment of fine. It further recommended that matters pertaining to prisoners with advanced age, suffering from any illness may be examined on a case to case basis.

Similarly, in case of undertrials, it proposed that all those with only one case pending against them and in which the maximum sentence is seven years or less with or without fine shall be considered for 60 days interim bail on furnishing surety and personal bond, extendable for another period in case the circumstances so demand.

22:17 (IST)01 Apr 2020
Manipur: Eight out of 10 who attended Nizamudin Markaz test negative

Eight of the 10 persons from Manipur who attended a religious congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz in New Delhi have tested negative, said an official statement of the Manipur government. It said that the results of the remaining two are inconclusive and they are currently lodged at Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) and Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS).

Clarifying that there are no new cases of COVID-19 in the state till date, the statement said that the eight individuals whose results came negative are at Government quarantine centre.  Meanwhile, the state has ordered that all educational institutes like schools, tuition centers, coaching classes, boardings among others will continue to remain close beyond March 31 until further orders.

21:58 (IST)01 Apr 2020
J&K admin asks police to book six persons belonging to Tablighi Jamaat

The Jammu and Kashmir's administration has asked police to book nearly half a dozen people belonging to Tableegi Jamaat in Kathua district for concealing the travel history including their stay at Nizamuddin in Delhi.

Giving particulars of seven people belonging to Nagri Parole in Kathua district, Tehsildar concerned in a letter to Kathua Deputy Commissioner said that these people stayed at home and met with locals, thus posing risk to the life of hundreds of people. She requested that criminal proceedings under relevant sections of law shall be initiated against them.

Kathua SSP Shailender Mishra said that police have received a letter from Kathua Deputy Commissioner for registration of a case against half a dozen Tableegi Jamaat people. Police are looking into the matter, he added.

21:49 (IST)01 Apr 2020
PIB highlights SC directive to media against unverified news capable of causing panic

The government's Press Information Bureau (PIB) on Wednesday highlighted the Supreme Court's directive to the media to maintain a strong sense of responsibility while reporting on issues pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that unverified news capable of causing panic is not disseminated. In a statement, the PIB said the Supreme Court has noted that the migration of a large number of labourers working in the cities was triggered by panic created by fake news that the lockdown would continue for more than three months. The court observed that it was not possible for it to overlook the menace of fake news by electronic, print or social media because the panic-driven migration has caused suffering to those who acted on such news, causing some to lose their lives, said the statement by the PIB which is under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The Supreme Court has directed the media, including print, electronic and social media, to maintain a strong sense of responsibility and ensure that unverified news capable of causing panic is not disseminated, it said. (PTI)

21:09 (IST)01 Apr 2020
Assam reports 8 new COVID-19 cases, all linked to Nizamuddin Markaz

Eight more COVID-19 positive cases have been reported in Assam, taking the total number of cases up to 13. All eight participated in the Tablighi Jamaat event at Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz, confirmed Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

21:07 (IST)01 Apr 2020
Don't publically criticise efforts against COVID-19: J&K admn warns govt servants

Jammu and Kashmir administration has warned government servants against publically criticising its efforts to combat the COVID-19, citing that it is against the service conduct rules. "There can be difference of opinion or some minor issues, which the government employees can bring into the notice of authorities concerned so that the issue is redressed instead of putting that issue in social media, print and electronic media which is causing more harm than good to the public and administration in combating the pandemic," read a circular issued by the Directorate of Health Services, J&K.

20:56 (IST)01 Apr 2020
Trump to Modi, here’s what explains growing popularity of global leaders during COVID-19 crisis

President Trump of the US, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the UK, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain are among the leaders who are being seen more favourably as their respective governments are handling the response to the global outbreak. Here is where Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands in terms of popularity among all democratic leaders. Click here to know

20:53 (IST)01 Apr 2020
COVID-19 is getting transmitted through a ‘third route’, say scientists

COVID-19 is generally understood to be transmitted through thorough two modes: one is through infection by droplets released in the air by sneezes and coughs; the other by infection when one comes into contact with any object that has virus on it. Other than these two modes of transmission, scientists say there is a ‘third route’ through which the virus infects the population —microdroplets. Read more here

Mumbai police seal the area outside a suspected coronavirus patient's house (Express photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)

Andhra Pradesh has identified 711 persons who were at the Delhi gathering. From neighbouring Telangana, at least 400 persons participated in the meeting. In Tamil Nadu, officials said 1,031 people attended the congregation, but are yet to trace 300. Karnataka has placed 78 persons, including 50 foreign nationals, in quarantine, after authorities discovered that the 60-year-old man who died in Tumkur on March 27 was also infected at the Markaz.

In Kerala, officials said about 59 persons had attended the programme in Delhi, and the process of identification was still on. Closer to Delhi, the Uttar Pradesh government said 157 persons from 19 districts attended the congregation, six of whom have tested positive for Coronavirus. While both Assam and Uttarakhand said they had records of the persons who attended the programme in Delhi, they were relieved that most or all of them continued to remain in Delhi.

Armed with a list of those at the congregation who tested positive for coronavirus, authorities are looking at passenger lists of at least three trains that set off from Hazrat Nizamuddin station in Delhi between March 14 and 19 — the Duronto Express to Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, the Grand Trunk Express to Chennai, and the Tamil Nadu Express to Chennai.

Even as a Tablighi Jamaat congregation in the Capital has emerged as a common link between many COVID-19 positive cases, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Tuesday that the “probability” of infection in India was still “very low” as compared to the US, now the global hotspot of the outbreak. In India, officials have said the rate of increase in cases slowed down after the nationwide lockdown began from March 24 midnight.

Although COVID-19 cases have grown faster over the last one week, the transmission rate in India is lower than elsewhere, experts note. On March 19, every positive case in India was transmitting the virus to 1.7 people on average. By March 26, that number had risen to 1.81, but remained significantly lower than in countries such as Iran or Italy, according to Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai scientist Sitabhra Sinha.

READ | As US deaths cross 3,400, ICMR compares: coronavirus infection probability is low in India

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READ | Tablighi Jamaat congregation: First link was spotted on March 17; list of foreigners took till 21st

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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