Nearly 100 Delhi Nizamuddin Mosque-Linked COVID-19 Cases, All 2,100 Evacuated

Nearly 100 Delhi Mosque-Linked Coronavirus Cases, All 2,100 Evacuated

Coronavirus: People in hazmat suit at Delhi’s Nizamuddin during the evacuation (AFP)

New Delhi:
All 2,100 people have been evacuated from a building in south Delhi’s Nizamuddin after nearly a 100 people tested positive for COVID-19. Hundreds of people had been staying at “Markaz Nizamuddin”, the Delhi headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat group. The evacuations started on Monday amid a nationwide search for suspected COVID-19 cases after a large religious gathering at the Nizamuddin building emerged as a coronavirus hotspot with links to seven COVID-19 deaths. The Markaz officials had said there were some 1,000 people on its premises. Lanes near the religious centre have been taped off by officials in protective suits. A police case has been filed against the mosque administration.

Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:

  1. The Home Ministry has told states to track down Tablighi members who travelled to various parts of the country after the two-day gathering on March 8-10. Fifty have tested positive in Tamil Nadu, 24 in Delhi, six in Telangana, four in Andhra Pradesh, 10 in Andamans and one each in Assam and Jammu and Kashmir after attending the gathering. 824 foreigners had also travelled to different states and their details had been shared with the police chiefs, the Home Ministry said.

  2. “We all need to understand and appreciate that this is not the time to do fault finding. What is important for us is to take action as per our containment process in whatever areas we find a case,” said Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Aggarwal during a press briefing on Tuesday evening.

  3. Ignoring all social distancing rules to avoid the deadly COVID-19, hundreds had been staying in the 100-year-old mosque complex, which has a six-floor dormitory, since March 8. On March 21, there were 1,746 in the centre and 216 were foreigners, according to the home ministry.

  4. The government says 2,137 members of Tabligh have been identified in different states and are being medically examined and quarantined. A search is on for members who returned to Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Andamans.

  5. Six people have died in Telangana. A man who died in Srinagar had visited the Deoband seminary in UP. Ten more, who returned to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, have tested positive. 1,800 are quarantined in Andamans. More than 100 people from Kashmir attended the gathering and Andhra Pradesh is trying to trace 700 members.

  6. The Tablighi Jamaat is an Islamic missionary movement set up in 1926, with members across the world. Similar events held in Malaysia and Pakistan in February-March have been linked to virus cases.

  7. The gathering, which featured sermons, was attended by Tablighi members from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan and Saudi Arabia. Members had also come from Afghanistan, Algeria, Djibouti, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, England, Fiji, France and Kuwait.

  8. 300 foreigners who were on tourist visa and attended the religious event, face blacklisting. The government has also decided to not issue tourist visa to any foreigner who wishes to visit India and take part in Tablighi Jamaat activities, officials said.

  9. On March 20, 10 members from Indonesia tested positive in Telangana. Even then, around 1,200 people stayed in the mosque complex. The police claim that they escorted many to the airport. But on March 26, two days into the national lockdown ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they were back. There were close 2,000 by the time the police found out.

  10. In a statement, Markaz Nizamuddin defended itself saying the event was cancelled when PM Modi announced the “Janata Curfew” for March 22. Members could not leave, it said, because trains were suddenly stopped. After that, it said, lockdowns ordered first by the Delhi government and then by the PM left the visitors stranded in the Markaz. However, officials point out that long before the lockdowns, the Delhi government had called for suspending all gatherings, religious, cultural or social.

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