As many as 350 persons believed to have attended Tablighi Markaz in Delhi have been traced in Punjab and their samples sent for testing. Seven of them have tested positive, 117 negative while results of 226 were awaited.
By Saturday, as per two lists – one by Punjab Police’ intelligence wing, which is based on details provided by the Centre on the basis of phone data collected from Delhi, and other by district surveillance teams – 309 persons from Punjab or having Punjab address were believed to have attended the Markaz in Delhi. The numbers swelled to 432 persons on Sunday, of which authorities were able to trace 422 – 350 in Punjab and remaining 72 in other states.
Six Markaz attendees – three from Mansa, two from Mohali and one each from Ludhiana and kapurthala – have tested positive.
With the death of one person in Ludhiana Sunday, the COVID-19 toll in Punjab rose to six. Till the filing of this report, there were 68 positive cases in state.
With Markaz in spotlight, police and health officials in Punjab are on their toes to trace and test the attendees.
A Tablighi Jamaat member who was traced from a district in Malwa said, “I had gone to the Delhi Markaz on March 17 and came back a day later. My samples were taken. I have no health problems. I had been preaching in Jalandhar and Nakodar. Chaar mahineyan baad, ik vaar othe haazri lagauni paindi (After four months, one needs to mark presence there)”.
The three who were tested positive in Mansa were also in Punjab for preaching. They are originally from Chhattisgarh.
A man who was taken to a hospital in Baroda and had listed his address as Mehta town in Amritsar district said, “I had gone to dargah on March 12 and returned on March 14.” He claimed that he was in Mehta as a labourer and had obtained the phone number there.
Another in the list, a woman from Ludhiana who was taken to Ludhiana civil hospital Friday evening, claimed that she offered a chaadar at the mosque on March 1. “I have no symptoms of the disease. And it is more than a month now since I visited. But, police still brought me to the hospital,” the 32-year-old woman said.
Another person whose address was of Mansa as per phone details said he was currently in his village in Uttar Pradesh.
The man said he was in Delhi in mid March for treatment of “Hepatitis B”. “I stayed in Okhla Mandi area. I have records to show that I was in Delhi for the hospital visit,” said the man, adding that he stayed in Mansa about a half and year ago and had obtained phone number from Budhlada. “Moreover, we are from a sub-sect of Muslim community which has nothing to do with Tablighi Jamaat,” said the man.
A man from Sangrur said the phone number he was using was in the name of his uncle whose name figured in the list. “About a week or so before the lockdown, I had gone to Ambala, Panipat and Sonipat for marketing of cattle feed. But, I did not cross the Delhi border. I don’t know why my phone number is there. I am in the hospital and my samples has been taken for testing.”
Out of four in Hoshiarpur, one was traced, his sample taken and he was isolated, said a health official. “The man says that he had gone to Delhi and lost his mobile phone, but we are not taking any chances. The other three say they are in UP and Delhi. We are trying to trace them,” said the official.
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