Haryana”s Home Minister Anil Vij on Thursday said that 927 attendees of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi”s Nizamuddin area have been traced in the state, with five of them testing COVID-19 positive so far.
Of the 927 people traced till now, 107 are foreigners. The minister, who a day ago said 503 people, including 72 foreigners, who attended the Nizamuddin event have been traced in Haryana, indicated on Thursday that the number may go up further.
Vij, who also holds the health portfolio, said that 820 out of the 927 traced are from outside Haryana, and the foreigners include Bangladeshi, Malaysian, South African, Nepali and Sri Lankan nationals.
“We do not exactly know who all they have met. There is a possibility that some of them may have infected others who in turn unknowingly may be carriers. The report which I have at present states that among those traced so far, two from Ambala and three from Palwal have tested COVID-19 positive,” he said.
The foreigners have been kept in isolation while samples of 256 other suspected cases have been sent for testing and all were being quarantined, the minister said.
Informing newspersons that samples of all the 107 foreigners have been sent for testing separately and reports are awaited, Vij said a majority of them were on tourist visa.
They all had concealed information regarding their travel details within the country and action against them according to law is being contemplated, the minister said.
Asked if the foreigners will be deported, Vij replied, “We cannot do so till they test negative.”
Vij said the police department was at their job and indicated the number of those who attended the Nizamuddin event could increase as there was possibility of more of them being traced in the state.
To a question how many of the 927 traced so far could have entered the state after the lockdown was put in place, he said, “This information is being gathered.”
On the purpose of this group entering Haryana, Vij said on Wednesday that after attending the congregation they are assigned duties and sent to different places across India to preach. “They stay in mosques, go to people”s homes and hold meetings.”
The Tablighi Jamaat”s Markaz in Nizamuddin West has emerged as a hotspot of coronavirus, following which a major area has been sealed and an FIR lodged against its cleric for violating government orders.
The Telangana government said on Monday that six people who attended the religious congregation between March 13 and 15 died due to the novel coronavirus. Subsequently, authorities across the country swung into action to trace the contacts of those who went to the gathering, attended by hundreds of people, including from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
The Delhi police has registered an FIR against Maulana Saad of the Nizamuddin centre under sections of Epidemic Disease Act and other sections of the Indian Penal Code for violating government orders on management of the markaz in relation to social, political or religious gathering.
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