"I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks."
Twenty union territories and states are trying to identify, isolate and test thousands of people who attended the religious congregation of nearly 4,000 people at Markaz Nizamuddin, the headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi, in mid-March.
While cases are showing up in various states, Tamil Nadu announced that 50 of the 57 positive cases in the state were of those who had participated in the gathering. In Telangana, five people who tested positive and died were part of the congregation.
Over 1,548 people were evacuated in Delhi in the last three days. The area was put under strict lockdown after 18 people from the area tested positive.
While Andhra Pradesh identified 711 people who participated in the gathering, at least 400 from Telangana were part of the event.
A group from Karimnagar in the state brought along as many as 10 Indonesians while returning. All of them travelled by train in a sleeper coach from Delhi and got off at Ramagundam in Peddapalli district on March 13 where they visited some mosques while travelling in autorickshaws.
They visited four mosques in Karimnagar the next day and interacted with students. While one of the Indonesians tested positive on March 17, the remaining nine tested positive the next day.
In Andhra Pradesh, out of the 711 identified, 122 have been quarantined at private hospitals and isolation facilities, 207 at government hospitals, and 297 in their homes. The remaining 87 people are untraceable.
"We are trying to gather information if anyone else travelled to Nizamuddin for the meeting," The Indian Express quoted Minister Perni Venkataramiah as saying.
Officials in Tamil Nadu said that while 1,031 people attended the congregation, 300 are yet to be traced.
"All of them have returned, but many phones are switched off and others could not be traced at their addresses. About 400 people are still stranded in Delhi," said K Shanmugam, state chief secretary. "We have to quarantine them, screen all their contacts. We will do it in two or three days," he said.
After authorities in Karnataka discovered that the 60-year-old man who died in Tumkur on March 27 was infected at the Markaz, the state placed 78 persons, including 50 foreign nationals, in quarantine.
"We are not sure if all 78 quarantined persons participated in the congregation in Delhi but they are all from the Tablighi Jamaat," he said. Efforts are on to put as many as 300 people linked to the Jamaat from Karnataka under quarantine.
In Kerala, the process is on to identify about 59 persons who had attended the programme in Delhi.
From 19 districts in Uttar Pradesh, 157 people attended the gathering, six of whom have tested positive for COVID-19. In Bijnor, five members of a mosque were booked for allegedly sheltering eight Indonesian nationals who had participated in the congregation. They had travelled to Odisha from Delhi before coming to Bijnor, and their travel details in Odisha are now being acquired to trace the chain of contacts.
Assam and Uttarakhand said that they had records of the persons who attended the programme in Delhi, but most of them have continued to live in Delhi. 456 people from Assam attended the event. Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma said that anyone found to have returned from there will be quarantined.
All 26 people from Uttarakhand who were in the gathering, are still there and have not returned.
Sources in West Bengal said that 73 persons from the state attended the event. The home and the health departments were still tracking them.
"The process of identification is on, and they are being quarantined for 14 days and will be tested for COVID-19," said an official.
Jharkhand is still trying to ascertain the number of people who were part of the event, and Bihar Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Amir Subhani said that so far, the state did not have any data.
While state Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik in Maharashtra said that the state did not have any specific data yet, a Jamaat member, who did not wish to be named, said, "During March 7-9, there was an aalmi mushavra (discussion with experts) which may have been attended by over 40 people from the state."
The J-K administration too has been trying to ascertain the number of people who participated in the congregation and prepared a list of 800 people. The list includes those who were in contact with people present in the gatherings. According to official sources, over 350 people have already been identified and put under quarantine by the administration. The search is on for others.
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