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Tablighi Jamaat HQ is India’s biggest Covid-19 hot spot, linked to 1,000 cases in India

One-third of the 3,000-odd Covid-19 cases reported in the country are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat in national capital Delhi that had held its annual congregation last month, the Union health ministry said on Saturday.

The government had last week evacuated over 2,000 workers holed up in the central Delhi headquarters of the evangelical Muslim sect; 24 of them had then tested positive and 200 more had symptoms of the disease. There were fears that the sect’s followers could end up spreading the disease because many had already left Delhi and had been active in different parts of the country.

The health ministry statement confirmed initial apprehensions that Jamaat followers, many of them foreign nationals, who spread out across the country could end up creating an explosion of cases. In all, the Tablighi-linked cases have been reported from 17 states and union territories including Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

“Out of the total cases in the country, around 30 per cent are linked to one particular place,” health ministry joint secretary Lav Aggarwal told the daily briefing on Covid-19.

Aggarwal sounded a word of caution that asked if the country appeared to have been successful to break the chain of transmission. It is a daily battle, he suggested, underscoring how one mistake could jeopardise the country’s preparedness to deal with the public health emergency. One mistake, and you go from being successful to unsuccessful, he said.

The home ministry’s Punya Salila Srivastava told reporters that the agencies had, through a massive effort, located and placed around 22,000 Tablighi Jamaat workers and their contacts in quarantine.

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