Government personnel in protective suits at Delhi’s Nizamuddin area which has emerged as a Covid-19 hotspot.(Biplov Bhuyan/ /HT PHOTO)
Government personnel in protective suits at Delhi’s Nizamuddin area which has emerged as a Covid-19 hotspot.(Biplov Bhuyan/ /HT PHOTO)

Recent rise in Covid-19 cases not a national trend, says govt

Coronavirus has infected more than 1,600 people in India and has claimed 38 lives so far.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON APR 01, 2020 08:47 PM IST

Amid a spurt of the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in the country this week, the government on Wednesday said that although the cases have increased due to Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi last month, it does not reflect the national trend.

“1,800 people related to Tablighi Jamaat have been sent to 9 hospitals and quarantine centres. The recent rise in cases does not represent a national trend,” Lav Aggarwal, joint secretary in the Union health ministry said at a briefing.

Over the past three days, the number of positive cases has risen sharply across many states. Many of the news cases have been linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area.

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“Till now there are 1,637 Covid-19 cases, including 386 new positive cases since yesterday. There have been 38 deaths. One hundred thirty two people have recovered. The number of positive cases has gone up since yesterday. One of the main reasons for it is the travel by members of Tablighi Jamaat,” Aggarwal said.

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He urged people to follow guidelines during lockdown period, avoid congregations and religious gatherings.

In a related development, the Centre instructed states to intensify contact tracing of Tablighi Jamaat members who participated in the gathering at Nizamuddin March 13-15, and asked them to initiate steps to cancel visas of its foreign members who participated in the event in violation of their visa conditions.

As the numbers continue to surge, the government is also stepping up efforts to stop the pandemic with the railways contributing in a large way by modifying coaches to set up quarantine facilities.

“The Railways is preparing to set up 3.2 lakh isolation and quarantine beds by modifying 20,000 coaches. Modification of 5,000 coaches has begun. Lifeline flights have been started to transport essential commodities like testing kits, medicines and masks” Aggarwal said.

Joint secretary in the Union home ministry, Punya Salila Srivastava who also addressed reporters said state governments are taking care of migrant workers who were heading home from different metros following the announcement of the 21-day lockdown.

“The States are arranging food and shelter for the migrant workers; 21,486 relief camps have been set up where 6,75,133 persons have been given shelter,” Srivastava said.

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