At least 40 children in the 3-17 years age group have been tested positive for the Wuhan Coronavirus in Andhra Pradesh, as per a report in the Indian Express. The report says that all these children have contracted the disease from infected family members who have been to the Tablighi Jamaat events in Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz.
As on April 15, the state of Andra Pradesh has recorded 475 active cases of coronavirus infection. All these active cases are under treatment in specified COVID-19 hospitals across the state.
Role of Tablighi Jamaat behind coronavirus cases in Andhra
The report in IE quoted health department officials saying, “All the children contracted the virus from family members who attended the Tablighi Jamaat meeting at Delhi’s Nizamuddin in March. “The jamaat returnees were unaware that they were infected, and inadvertently passed it on to their family members, among them are several children,”
Among the 475 active cases are also 124 women. The officials have stated that in some cases, 1 infected family member who had been to the Nizamuddin Markaz had passed on the virus to all the women in the family, mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and grandmothers.
36 of the active cases are persons above 60. Senior citizens are particularly susceptible to infection by the deadly virus. However, the report mentions that none of the children is serious. Most of them have mild symptoms and are expected to make full recovery soon.
Recently, Andhra’s deputy CM K Narayanaswamy had stated that but for the Tablighi Jamaat, Andhra would have had only a few cases of coronavirus. Telangana Health Minister Etela Rajender had said that the State would have been free from the Chinese virus, in the absence of the Jaamatis.
It was reported earlier that the Tablighi Jamaat has been behind the 250 coronavirus hotspots in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh combined.
Coronavirus situation in Andhra Pradesh
The report states that on Wednesday alone, the state reported 19 fresh cases of the coronavirus. The state has now decided to double the current testing capacity to 4000 tests, using TrueNat TB testing equipment.
The government has also declared assistance of Rs 2000 to poor families returning from quarantine centres.
As on April 16, 22 fresh cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state by 8 am in the morning, taking the state total to 525. Of the total number of cases, 20 have made recovery and 14 others have died so far.
Kurnool district has the highest number of cases at 75, followed by the Guntur and Nellore districts with 51 and 48 cases respectively.
Criticism for the Indian Express report
Indian Express had received wide criticism yesterday after it published a report claiming that the coronavirus patients and suspected cases have been segregated into separate wards on the basis of their religion at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital.
The report was also picked up by usual propagandists, and eventually by USCIRF, a US federal commission, to create the false narrative of religious bias in India’s fight against coronavirus. However, the claims were soon busted when the Gujarat government claimed that no such segregation has been ordered.
Today’s report in the Indian Express regarding the 40 coronavirus positive children in Andhra Pradesh was also criticised by many on social media due to a seemingly deliberate attempt to dissociate any relation with the Tablighi Jamaat.
The report, in its body, mentioned clearly that all the children have contracted the disease from family members who had been to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation, India’s super-spreader. However, the featured image used by Indian Express for the report showed a Hindu couple being screened.
Well done @IndianExpress! The news is abt 40 kids infected with #ChineseCoronaVirus, thanks to #TablighiJamatVirus! But what does the Indian Express use as a header pic? The pic of a very HINDU newly wed couple! Coz, obviously, using real #SingleSource pics is a blasphemy! pic.twitter.com/VKAMYI79p1— Shefali Vaidya. (@ShefVaidya) April 16, 2020
Author Shefali Vaidya slammed the publication for deliberately trying to mislead readers about the link of Tablighi Jamaat with the increasing number of coronavirus infections.