Updated: April 5, 2020 6:54:38 am
So far, 1,023 of the 3,072 positive cases in India have been traced to that one congregation. The cases have come from 17 states and Union Territories — Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Assam, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health, said Saturday, “About 30 per cent of all our cases have been linked to this one incident. For us, it is a daily battle, contact tracing is on in all these 17 states… I want to tell you that our doubling rate is lower than most countries, but I want to emphasise that one failure by one person will put us back hugely. a chain is only as good as its weakest link.”
From the first week of March, hundreds of Tablighi Jamaat activists had gathered at its Nizamuddin headquarters for a religious event that continued for days even as a government advisory barred all congregations in view of the worsening COVID-19 situation.
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According to the Ministry of Health Affairs, more than 2,000 of the Tablighi Jamaat participants were foreigners. After the gathering, over 800 of them toured various parts of the country. On Thursday, the MHA blacklisted 1,320 foreigners associated with the Tablighi Jamaat for violating visa rules even as it cancelled tourist visas of all such visitors to India.
Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary in MHA, said about 22,000 people linked to the Tablighi Jamaat and their contacts across the country are currently under quarantine.
Of the 2,000 foreigners from 70 countries who were in different parts of India on tourist visa, most are from Bangladesh (493), Indonesia (472), Malaysia (150) and Thailand (142).
Health Ministry officials said that before the fallout of the Tablighi Jamaat gathering came to light, there were “serious signs” of the lockdown bringing down the rate of increase of cases. “We were hopeful that we could really bend the curve and not just flatten it in a few more days. But all of that has now changed. That is why it is so important that there are no more slip-ups,” a senior official said.
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