Firefighters sanitise Tablighi Jamaat headquarters, nearby areas in Nizamuddin

Senior officers from the fire department said that Nizamuddin is the first hotspot that they were tasked to sanitise and the exercise will be carried out in other parts of the city as well, if required.
Delhi Government public health employees leave after a sanitization drive at the Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid at Nizamuddin, in New Delhi on April 1, 2020.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT file photo)
Delhi Government public health employees leave after a sanitization drive at the Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid at Nizamuddin, in New Delhi on April 1, 2020.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT file photo)
Updated on Apr 03, 2020 05:45 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Anvit Srivastava

Firefighters on Thursday sprayed thousands of gallons of disinfectant in south Delhi’s Nizamuddin and adjoining areas, which has emerged as the single-largest source of the Covid-19 across India.

A six-storey building — the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters — has emerged as the biggest Covid-19 hot spot in India so far, with at least 182 people from there testing positive for Covid-19 in the Capital alone, and more than 500 in hospital for showing Covid-like symptoms. More than 1,800 people who attended the congregation have been placed in quarantine in the city.

Senior officers from the fire department said that Nizamuddin is the first hotspot that they were tasked to sanitise and the exercise will be carried out in other parts of the city as well, if required.

Atul Garg, director, Delhi Fire Service (DFS), said on Thursday that his team had sanitised the building (markaz) in Nizamuddin, the lanes surrounding the building and other adjoining residential areas.

“We sprayed at least two fire trucks full of disinfectants. One fire tender usually carries around 10,000 litres of water mixed with sodium hypochlorite. On Thursday, we sprayed at least 5,000 gallons of disinfectants,” he said.

Garg added that they even sprayed disinfectant on the shutters of shut shops, footpaths, walls, parked vehicles and other buildings in the vicinity.

On Wednesday, in a meeting with the chief secretary and top bureaucrats in Delhi, lieutenant governor Anil Baijal had directed that the fire department be used in carrying out a disinfection drive in Covid-19 hotspot clusters, quarantine centres and vulnerable public places in the city.

Garg said that even though their department is handling such a situation for the first time, they are fully prepared. “We were tasked with disinfecting large localities as we are better equipped to do so. We have never faced such a situation before, but we are prepared to deal with it. Everyday, we will be tasked with sanitising such hotspots until the situation is brought under control. At present we have four dedicated teams, each having one fire tender. If need be, more teams will be pressed into action. Also, since we use heavy pressure to sprinkle disinfectants, we can do it while maintaining a safe distance,” Garg said, adding that his men have been provided with adequate safety gears.

The Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, and two lanes leading to it, had been sealed earlier, after 2,346 people were evacuated from there in India’s biggest coronavirus (Covid-19)-related rescue operation that lasted 36 hours.

The evacuees were sent to quarantine centres and hospitals, even as officials across the country scrambled to identify, trace and isolate people who attended a congregation at the headquarters, which was held last month.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has said that more than 500 symptomatic persons evacuated from the building have been admitted to hospitals. Besides, 1,810 asymptomatic people have been put in quarantine facilities.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021