Referring to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation that was held last month in the Nizamuddin markaz, health ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said around 30% were linked to “this particular place” which he said could not be managed.
Agarwal said “proactive, preemptive and graded” response of the government had ensured that doubling of Covid-19 cases in India was less as compared to other countries. The Tablighi incident resulted in a spike that was not consistent with the trend line. However, with no room for complacency, one slip meant going back to square one, he added.
The home ministry’s control room, along with administrations of states, has launched a massive effort to track Tabilighi members, including hundreds of foreigners, who were in the markaz in numbers that violated the Delhi government’s restrictions on religious gatherings. The Centre also remained concerned about reports of some Tablighi members in medical facilities misbehaving with female nursing staff and senior sources in government said their conduct was under watch.
The government said 22,000 Tablighi members and their contacts related to the religious event had been quarantined and many others were being traced.
“Massive efforts are going on in across 17 states which have reported cases related to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation,” home ministry joint secretary Punya Salila Srivastava said.
The 17 states (and Union territories) are Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Delhi, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
The Tablighi Jamaat held two conferences last month and a large number of members remained cooped up even after a national lockdown was ordered.
“It is an everyday battle for us. As soon as cases came to light, contact tracing starts and it is a continuous process. We are faced with a new challenge even if one case is hidden,” Agarwal said in an apparent reference to Tablighi Jamaat incident.
The health ministry has confirmed 2,902 Covid-19 cases in the country so far and said cases rose by 601 since Friday. Besides, 68 deaths, including 12 since Friday, have been reported.