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Kerala: 284 Tablighi Jamaat attendees from Nizamuddin Markaz still missing, authorities fear they may be carrying coronavirus

"Every contact they make could spread the infection further and it could lead to an explosive community spread across the state," a senior police official was quoted saying by India Today.

 At least 284 persons from Kerala who had participated in the Tablighi Jamaat convention in Nizamuddin in Delhi are still missing, giving a scare to the authorities.

According to a report in India Today, nearly 284 persons from Kerala who had attended the Markaz have switched off their mobile phones, which has made it extremely tough for the authorities to trace them.

Out of the thousands who had visited Delhi for Tablighi Jamaat congregation, 518 people had returned to Kerala. They had been soon identified and all of them was put under home quarantine. Incidentally, only six of them have tested positive.

Over 500 Tablighis suspects are out of Kerala

However, another 509 suspected Tablighi Jamaat attendees who had attended the Markaz in the period March 12-28 are out of Kerala and are currently based in other states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. Their details have been passed on to the home authorities of those states.

Though the state had reported 408 cases as of April 20 and has been statistically able to plateau the curve, the state authorities are now concerned that the missing Tablighi Jamaat members can topple the efforts.

Tablighi could be carriers: Kerala police

Kerala was the first affected state in the country to be affected by the Chinese pandemic. In total, the state has reported 408 cases, with 288 recoveries and three deaths. However, the state police now fear that some of these missing 284 Tablighi members of the total 1,311 from Kerala could be carriers and infect much more people in the state.

The Kerala police have been trying to hunt the Tablighi Jamaat attendees ever since the outbreak continued to spread in late March. The authorities were worried after call records suggested 1,311 people from the state were in the Nizamuddin area, nearly a third of the participants.

On March 29, IB director Arvind Kumar had informed state DGPs to trace the movement of the Tablighi workers in their area, ascertain their contacts and medically screen all of them. The chief minister approved on the police plan to identify and quarantine all the participants of the convention but warned the police to keep it away from the media glare.

The Kerala police are still worried about the 284 people who are still missing. “Every contact they make could spread the infection further and it could lead to an explosive community spread across the state,” said a senior police official as per teh India Today report.

Tablighi Jamaat – the epicentre of coronavirus transmission

The Tablighi Jamaat congregation, which took place in Nizamuddin Markaz in the first half of March, has become the mega-spreader of coronavirus in India, as many as more than one-third cases in India are linked to that event now. The persons who had attended the event, and their family members and those who came into contact with them are testing positive regularly, contributing the increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.

The Tablighi Jamaat event was not only attended by Indian Islamic clerics but also foreign nationals. The alarm bells should have started ringing when seven Indonesian nationals associated with the organization tested positive for the Wuhan Coronavirus in Telangana after travelling from Delhi to Karimnagar for an Ijtema. However, it was only later that the full scope of the Tablighi Jamaat’s contribution to the spreading of the virus became prominent when nearly 300 Jamaatis in the Delhi’s Banglewali Masjid had to be taken to hospital for suspected coronavirus symptoms, many testing positive eventually.

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