Karnataka set aside protocol, decides to test all Tablighi Jammaat men or Covid-19

South India

A total of 21,200 people linked to Tablighi Jammaat has been quarantined across the country. The number includes 2,000 foreigners.

Karnataka health department has decided to put Covid-19 protocol at bay in respect of Tablighi Jamaat members and test all of them for the virus even if they are asymptomatic and have not attended the Nizamuddin Markaz event in Delhi last month.

According to Economic Times, the decision follows an unpredictable pattern of positive cases emerging among those associated with TJ in the state. The existing lab-testing strategy mandates drawing swab samples of only those who had returned from the event up to a fortnight ago.

However, some positive cases not falling within standard testing criteria have prompted health officials to go beyond the government’s written order and extending testing to other TJ members. According to reports, only about 361 people from Karnataka may have attended the TJ event held at Nizamuddin last month.

Tests conducted on TJ members have been showing conflicting reports. While a group of 10 people from Bidar, who had attended the event were tested positive for Covid-19, four from Mysururu were found infected with the virus even without attending the event.

Two patients in Mangaluru, who had participated in the Delhi congregation and later tested positive, had no symptoms of the disease at all. “They had no cough, fever not even the mildest symptom. If we had decided on sending their samples purely based on symptoms, we would not even know that they are positive,” a health officer from Dakshina Kannada district was quoted by ET as saying.

This has prompted the state health department to use its discretion and allow districts to send swab samples even if the cases do not strictly fall into any of the categories laid out for lab testing. “The health authorities will decide on testing samples even of those Jamaat members who did not attend the Delhi meeting, but have some kind of travel history. Tests are conducted to rule out the risk. There are also good chances that some people may not entirely reveal the truth about travel or contact history,” state education minister S Suresh Kumar, who is the spokesperson for Covid-19, told ET.

Meanwhile, Hindustan Times reported that a total of 21,200 people linked to TJ been quarantined across the country. The number includes 2,000 foreigners.

As of Sunday morning, at least 1,023 cases in 17 states and Union Territories, or over 30% of India’s total Covid-19 infections, could be linked to the mid-March gathering that has prompted authorities to launch a complex exercise to trace the footsteps of those who fanned out across the country.

The foreigners’ register maintained by the Jamaat headquarters, also known as the Markaz, has been seized by the Delhi Police’s crime branch. Also, the Jamaat head Maulana Saad has been booked for defying restrictions on public gatherings. Police stations in other states, too, have registered cases under relevant laws.

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