Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said yesterday social media appears to be targeting a particular section of people, especially those who attended the recent Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation in Delhi, for the spread of coronavirus in the country.
“In Kerala, 60 people are under observation. As of now, there is nothing to be worried about. There seems to be a campaign going on social media against this. Coronavirus is not religion specific and anyone can get it. The need of the hour is we should all stand united against this,” Vijayan said, adding that strict action will be taken against those creating unnecessary trouble.
On Tuesday, Vijayan had asked the state police to locate all those who attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area two weeks ago.
In New Delhi, the Health Ministry said the coronavirus cases may rise due to negligence and carelessness.
Lav Agarwal, a senior official of the ministry, said at least 386 new coronavirus positive cases and three new deaths were reported in the country, but it should not be seen as a trend.
However the number of cases might rise due to negligence and carelessness.
“Till now, there are 1,637 Covid-19 cases, including 386 new positive cases and three new deaths since yesterday. The main reason for the increased number of cases is that members of Tablighi Jamaat have travelled across the country,” he said.
“As many as 38 deaths have been reported and 132 people have recovered,” the joint health secretary told reporters.
“At least 1,800 people related to Tablighi Jamaat have been shifted to nine hospitals and quarantine centres. However, the recent rise in the number of cases does not represent a national trend if compared with the previous trends in the country. But as we all know that naturally the cases will grow due to negligence and carelessness. This is our advice that any kind of congregation should be avoided. Social distancing measures should be followed 100%.”
Agarwal said 23 new confirmed cases from Jammu and Kashmir, 20 from Telangana, 17 from Andhra Pradesh, nine from Andaman and Nicobar, 65 new cases from Tamil Nadu, 18 new cases from Delhi and two from Puducherry have been reported due to transit related history and additional sample testing is underway where the cases have spiked.
Meanwhile, in a frantic search of thousands of people who were participants of the Delhi congregation, the government asked all states to complete the contact tracing exercise on a “war footing” to check the Covid-19 spread.
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba said the aim was not only to stop those who attended the congregation but also those they came into contact with inadvertently creating new clusters of infections across India.
Thousands of people who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation and then dispersed may carry the virus to states across the country.
Noting that foreigners who had participated in the Tablighi Jamaat had “violated” visa conditions, the cabinet secretary asked the states to initiate “action for violation of visa condition against the foreigners and the organisers of the event”.
The top official’s instruction followed information received by the Home Ministry on Tuesday that at least 261 foreign nationals among 1,746 people were lodged at the Tablighi Jamaat’s Nizamuddin Markaz facility as on March 21, a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced ‘Janata curfew’ across India.
In Chennai, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said said 515 people from the state who had returned after attending the religious conference in Delhi have been identified.
Palaniswami said 1,500 people from Tamil Nadu had attended the conference.
On Tuesday, 50 people in Tamil Nadu who had returned from the conference tested positive for coronavirus.
Palaniswami urged the others to self-report to the health department for medical screening.
In Guwahati, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said five people who attended the congregation have so far tested positive for coronavirus in Assam.
He said the number of positive cases in the state might cross the double digit.
Sarma said the central government had told the state that 456 people from Assam had attended the congregation.
“Out of the 456 people, 230 have been identified and 68 have not yet returned to the state. Of the 230 people, swab samples of 196 were collected and five have tested positive for Covid-19,” Sarma said.
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