The Telangana government on Monday announced that six people who had attended a religious congregation in Nizamuddin area of New Delhi have died of the coronavirus.
A statement issued by the Chief Minister Office said the victims had attended the three-day religious congregation and contracted Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The government said two had died while undergoing treatment at Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, one each in Apollo Hospital and Global Hospital. Two other deaths were reported from Nizamabad and Gadwal.
It also added that special teams under district collectors have identified those who came in contact with these people, and they were shifted to hospitals. The authorities also urged people who attended the prayers in Delhi to contact officials. “Telangana health department requests those who attended the congregation at Markaz to voluntarily report at hospitals,” it said, adding that the government would conduct tests and offer treatment to them free of cost.
As Scroll.in reported previously, thousands of Indians and hundreds of foreigners had attended the conference that took place on March 9 and 10 in the densely populated Nizamuddin area of Delhi. Ten of the 17 confirmed cases in Tamil Nadu on March 30 were also of people who had participated in the congregation.
The conference was organised by the Tablighi Jamaat preachers at the Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid in Delhi. An Islamic evangelical organisation, the Jamaat, an offshoot of the Deobandi movement, has its presence in several parts of India and countries in South Asia and South-East Asia. Many also fanned out across the country to recruit people after this, raising concerns about the scale of the potential spread of infection at the conference.
A group of over 300 residents of the Nizamuddin area were also being tested for the coronavirus in different hospitals in Delhi on Monday. Among the conference attendees was a religious preacher who died last week in Srinagar of Covid-19. He had visited the Deoband seminary in Uttar Pradesh before returning to Kashmir.
The incident raises serious questions about the lack on transparency on part of the Centre as Tamil Nadu first informed the health ministry on March 21 about the two Covid-19 positive Thailand nationals. It is unclear what the Central ministry did with the information and if it alerted other states about this. The Union Ministry of Health and Family welfare has not issued any advisory for people who may have attended the conference or those who may have come in contact with the attendees.
India began its seventh day in lockdown on Tuesday as confirmed Covid-19 cases stood at 1,251. The number of deaths rose by seven to 32 till Monday night. Both the increase in the number of cases and deaths were the highest ever in a single day. Of the total cases, 1,117 are active cases.