50 Jamaat congregation attendees test positive in TN, 515 put under quarantine
All of the 50 attendees — 22 from Tirunelveli, 18 from Namakkal, four from Kanyakumari, three from Villupuram, two from Madurai and one from Thoothukudi — have been placed under isolation at government medical college hospitals in their respective districts. They are all reportedly stable.Updated: Apr 01, 2020 04:03 IST
Of the 57 new people who tested positive for Covid-19 in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday, 50 had travelled to New Delhi and attended the religious conference organised by the Tablighi Jamaat in mid-March in the densely populated area of Nizammuddin, which has emerged over the last two days as a coronavirus disease hub that has left several states scrambling to find potential patients and spreaders.
All of the 50 attendees — 22 from Tirunelveli, 18 from Namakkal, four from Kanyakumari, three from Villupuram, two from Madurai and one from Thoothukudi — have been placed under isolation at government medical college hospitals in their respective districts. They are all reportedly stable.
“There were 1,500 persons from Tamil Nadu who attended a conference [the Tablighi Jamaat held] in Delhi recently. Out of them, 1,130 returned to Tamil Nadu. The rest of them stayed behind in New Delhi. Of the 1,130 that returned to the state, we have identified 515 across several districts... Out of these only, we have had a number of positive cases today,” Beela Rajesh, the state health secretary said at a press conference on Tuesday.
All the 515 people were put under quarantine. “I would like to make a sincere appeal to each and every member who attended the same conference in Delhi, in your own interest and in the interest of your family and community, to please come forward and declare yourself so that we can help you, we can cure you and we can ensure that your family members don’t suffer and the entire community and state doesn’t suffer,” she added.
State authorities were first alerted to the possibility of a larger spread emanating from New Delhi’s Nizamuddin area after a 54-year-old man, referred to as Patient 12, died in Madurai on March 25. He is reported to have come in contact with preachers who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat. Three of his family members also tested positive for the virus. HT could not independently verify this information.
In Erode, which has emerged as one of the biggest clusters in the state, a group of preachers who attended the Jamaat reportedly reached the city on March 11. Ten of them later tested positive for Covid-19. The data with the TN state control office indicates that on March 30, Erode had 24 cases — the highest in the state — with 889 people under home quarantine for a 28-day period.
The spread of the virus within Tamil Nadu was also likely triggered by Patient 5 and Patient 6 – both Thai nationals — who are admitted to the IRT Perundurai Medical College in Erode after testing positive for Covid-19.
With Tuesday’s new cases, the number of Covid-19 affected persons in the state now stands at 124. At least 60 of the confirmed cases had attended the conference.
According to the government officials, many of the attendees who have been traced are spread over several districts, including Chennai, Erode, Tiruchi, Ariyalur, Pudukottai, Erode and Nagapattinam, among others. Contact tracing of primary contacts of these attendees, and those still in Delhi, is underway.
Of the remaining cases confirmed on Tuesday — those who did not attend the conference — one was a 43-year-old man who had travelled to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, another was a 28-year-old man from Thiruvannamalai who is a co-worker of another patient who tested positive. There were also four persons from Chennai who did not have any travel history.
“All the patients are stable and in hospital isolation,” a statement released by the state earlier on Tuesday said.