The health workers, Delhi police and the officials have put in combined efforts in the last three days to trace over 600 foreigners linked to the Tablighi Jamaat in the national capital who are suspected to have carried coronavirus, reports Hindustan Times.
“By the time we finish, we expect to find 200 more at least,” a senior Delhi government official told Hindustan Times. The police were initially expecting to find 187 foreigners and two dozen Indian nationals from the Tablighi Jamaat who had attended the congregation at Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, but turns out, their estimates were terribly off the mark.
According to the senior officials in the Delhi government, about 100 foreigners have been found in mosques of the north-east district, 200 in the south-east district, 170 in the south district and 7 in the west district of Delhi. “We are still in the process of getting final reports from the field,” the official said.
Ever since the reports of Tablighi Jamaat being the epicentre of the coronavirus in India came out in the public, the officials have been tracing Tablighi Jamaat attendees across the country.
The security establishment had to put all the effort to evacuate the 2,300 people from the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in central Delhi’s, which led to police to conclude that there were more foreigners staying in different mosques in the national capital.
On 31 March, the Delhi Police had also sent an urgent message to the Delhi Government seeking help to locate the remaining Jamaat workers out of the city’s mosques. The police communication listed 16 mosques.
According to security agencies, there were at least 2,100 foreigners who had attended Markaz after landing in the country between March 1 and 18. Of them, 216 were still at the Jamaat headquarters when the crackdown took place and 824 had already left for proselytising activities across the country.
Soon, the authorities started a ‘manhunt’ to trace all the attendees, especially the foreigners who had participated so that they could be quarantined and their contact tracing could be established.
Many of the foreign nationals who had attended the event were found ‘hiding’ in mosques at various parts of the country. Several raids on mosques and religious places have taken place in the last three days to trace these foreign nationals. They have been now put under quarantine to test whether they are carrying the Chinese virus.
Following the violation of visa conditions by these foreigners, the Union Home Ministry had blacklisted and cancelled the tourist visas of 960 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members for not only aiding the spread of the contagious disease but also engaging in missionary activities while in India.
The blacklisting order will prohibit them from entering India for at least two years. It is reported that these 960 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members could be deported as and when they complete the quarantine or the hospitalisation period and international flights resume.
The massive jump of cases in India is solely due to the Tablighi Jamaat members who had gathered in the Nizamuddin mosque despite government orders against mass-gatherings.
The Jamaat members taking buses and trains to their respective localities all over India has resulted in a massive nation-wide spread within a span of few days. As per government reports, over 9000 Tablighi Jamaat attendees and their primary contacts have so far been quarantined.
As of Friday, 647 confirmed cases of Wuhan Coronavirus in 14 States, reported in the last two days, are linked to the Nizamuddin Markaz congregation that was organised by Tablighi Jamaat.
In Delhi alone, out of the counted 386 confirmed coronavirus cases in the city, 259 cases are connected to Jamaat. Three of Delhi’s six deaths are also linked to the Markaz, the biggest hot spot of the COVID-19 infections.
There are reports from different parts of the country indicating that a large number of people who had attended the Nizamuddin Markaz congregation had tested positive.
The live cases of COVID-19 linked to Tablighi Jammat were reported in Andaman and Nicobar, Delhi, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.