Covid-19 update: Areas visited by Jamaat attendees to be identified from phone records, sealed
Mobile phones of around 2,000 participants in Tablighi Jamaat congregations will be tracked to ascertain areas they had visited while staying in Nizamuddin and mark them as containment zones, said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday, while outlining a five-point action plan to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Kejriwal said, “Now, monitoring has to be stepped up at the hot spots. For instance, the Markaz in Nizamuddin (the venue of the Tablighi Jamaat congregations). We have provided around 2,000 phone numbers of individuals who participated in the Jamaat. We have to know areas they visited during their stay in the building and the people they came in contact with. All such areas will be sealed,” said Kejriwal said.
Later, an official in the chief minister’s office said that by “seal”, Kejriwal had referred to geographical containment of the area to limit transmission of coronavirus. The capital, so far, has two identified cluster hot spots — Dilshad Garden and Nizamuddin — both of which are containment zones, ranging between two and four square kilometres. A slum in south Moti Bagh has also been cordoned off and subjected to the protocols of a containment zone, but it is officially yet to be notified as one.
In the containment zones, there is strict surveillance to ensure residents do not step out of their houses, regular spraying of disinfectants, door-to-door visits by health workers to check for flu-like symptoms and provision of essentials (with all business establishments shut) by government workers. All roads to the containment zones are cordoned off by the police.
“For tracking, we have started taking the help of the police. So far, we have provided them with 27,702 phone numbers to check possible violation of quarantine norms,” said Kejriwal.
The police have so far registered at least 176 first information reports (FIRs) based on mobile tower records.
A Delhi police officer, on the condition of anonymity, said they are working with the Delhi government and central intelligence agencies with regards to mobile phone records and travel history of the quarantined persons.
“The Delhi government has been regularly giving us the contact details of home-quarantined persons. Based on that, we are checking for the violation of the home quarantine regulations. Separately, we also have our own database of those who were evacuated from the Markaz. Using that, we are checking for people they were in contact with during their stay in Delhi. We have got the records from the register of the Markaz. At the Central government level, the agencies are helping with contact details of Tablighi Jamaat participants from other states, who were in Delhi last month but left before the evacuation started,” the officer said.
So far, seven people have died of coronavirus in Delhi. The virus has infected 576 people, of whom 333 are linked to Tablighi Jamaat congregations. The government had evacuated around 2,400 people from the Nizamuddin building in a four-day operation in March-end.
So far, 5,305 cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed in India, of which more than 1,000 have been traced to the congregations at Nizamuddin Markaz in March.