NEW DELHI: The explosion of Covid-19 cases caused by the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) event continued to unfold for the third consecutive day, when at least 295 delegates from across the country who had attended the religious congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin last month tested positive for the virus, accounting for more than 60% of the 485 confirmed cases across India till around 11.45pm on Thursday.
The countrywide coronavirus count, which had crossed the 2,000 mark barely a day earlier, zoomed past 2,500 with Delhi (141), Maharashtra (88) and Tamil Nadu (75) adding big numbers.
At least eight Covid-19 deaths were reported, pushing the countrywide toll to 70. The health ministry has confirmed 2,069 cases and 54 deaths.
Delhi led the tally on Thursday with 129 of the total 141 confirmed cases being linked to the Tablighi meet. This was followed by the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka which together accounted for 143 Tablighi delegates or their contacts testing positive. While 74 of the total 75 cases in Tamil Nadu comprised TJ delegates or their contacts, 26 of the 27 positive cases in Telangana were linked to the Nizamuddin congregation. In Karnataka, 11 of the 14 cases were Tablighi delegates or their contacts. In Andhra, all 32 cases which reported positive had the Tablighi link.
Similarly, all the confirmed cases that were reported by Madhya Pradesh and the north eastern states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal on Thursday were linked to the Tablighi meet. Madhya Pradesh reported five fresh cases (four of them foreigners), Assam three and Manipur and Arunachal one each.
In Rajasthan, three of the 13 positive cases were linked to the congregation while in UP Tablighi delegates accounted for at least two of the total 10 cases. In Maharashtra, which had the highest number of Covid-19 cases on Thursday after Delhi, eight of the 88 positive cases were linked to TJ.
The Covid-19 tally in Delhi as well as the southern states Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has multiplied in the last three days because of the Tablighi link of the positive cases. At 143, Andhra’s total tally has registered a three-fold increase in positive cases in the last two days. State nodal officer A Srikanth said health authorities had carried out tests on 758 Delhi returnees and 91 of them tested positive. This translates to nearly 16% of the Markaz participants from AP testing positive. “We have details of all the participants from Andhra Pradesh. Officials in districts have been tracking the details of the remaining,” said Srikanth.
In Assam, health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that total 503 delegates from the state had attended the religious congregation in Nizamuddin. “We have been successful in establishing contact with 488 of them and have so far collected 361 samples,” he said, adding that the state government was trying to trace the 15 others who had attended the congregation.
Across country, around 50 medical professionals – who may not be essentially involved in Covid-19 management – have also been found positive for the disease, prompting medical associations to demand more protective equipment. One senior resident doctor at AIIMS and his wife, who is in advanced stage of pregnancy, tested positive.