On Monday, March 30, six people died in Telangana due to COVID-19, all of them suspected to have attended a Tablighi Jamaat meeting in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin area during the first three weeks of March. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh government reported a spike of 17 new cases affected by the virus since Monday night, a majority of who had participated in the same event.
Similar is the case in neighbouring Tamil Nadu. While the state government is estimating that over a thousand people who attended the meeting are back in the state, on Monday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that 16 of them were tested positive for the virus.
This has prompted the southern states’ Health Departments to identify the suspected attendees of the event. However, it is to be noted that the contact tracing has only intensified in the states after six deaths have been reported in Telangana.
“This year, there were about 1,500 to 2,000 Tablighi Jamaat members who attended the convention in Delhi from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. About 25 to 30 members attended from each district," states a press release from the Tablighi Jamaat. Reports suggest that the attendees had reached back to their states before the lockdown began.
Also read: COVID-19: Delhi Police Cordons Off Nizamuddin, Tablighi Jamat Markaz Amid Fear of Mass Infections
According to reports, the Telangana government has identified over 1,000 people and Andhra Pradesh government has identified over 800 people who attended the religious event in Delhi. In both the Telugu-speaking states, the attendees are spread across all districts.
Reportedly, more than 2,000 foreigners including from Indonesia and Malaysia had also participated in the Nizamuddin event from March 1 to 15. In New Delhi alone, at least 24 persons who attended the event have tested positive of the virus since Sunday.
Telangana has formed 5,274 surveillance teams and 78 inspection teams across the state to contain COVID-19 outbreak and Andhra Pradesh has deployed all district administrations for identifying the patients affected by the virus.
As of 4 pm, Tuesday, 70 people in Telangana have tested positive for COVID-19, of which 7 died and 12 have recovered. In Andhra Pradesh, 40 have tested positive while in Tamil Nadu, 70 tested positive and one has reportedly died so far.