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175 Tested, 2,000 At-Risk After Delhi Mosque Event Amid Coronavirus

Delhi Coronavirus: This is the largest single group being tested at the same time over suspicion of the highly contagious COVID-19, which is transmitted easily from person to person.

A group of 175 people from Delhi’s Nizamuddin area are being tested for coronavirus in different hospitals amid worries that they may have been exposed to the infection at a gathering in a mosque that featured visitors from Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan. One man has died and six have tested positive after attending the event earlier this month. 

Worries of a large group getting infected revolve around the gathering of Tablighi Jamaat preachers at the Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid in mid-March. 

This is the largest single group being tested at the same time over suspicion of the highly contagious COVID-19, which is transmitted easily from person to person. 

There were 1,200 people, mostly from south India, at the mosque, which is the centre for the Tableeghi Jamaat in the capital. A day after the March 22 Janata Curfew, before domestic flights were banned, the police escorted them to the airport. 

But they returned, the police say, and now about 2,000 remain in the shrine complex in the thickly-populated locality in south Delhi. They are staying in a six-floor dormitory. According to the police, 280 are foreigners. 

About 300 are showing symptoms linked to coronavirus and will be shifted to various hospitals or quarantine locations in Delhi, say sources. 

Delhi Police has reported the potentially grave situation to the home ministry, the sources say. 

Though it has not been established that the man who died – he was from Tamil Nadu — had coronavirus, the area has been sealed off and the police are patrolling to ensure no one violates quarantine. Drones are being used to monitor the movement of people.  

Visitors to the event include a religious preacher who died last week in Srinagar of coronavirus. He had visited the Deoband seminary in Uttar Pradesh before returning to Kashmir. Other visitors are an Indonesian and six Saudi citizens, who were sent back. 

Officials say contact-tracing is on to identify virus-exposed persons in Delhi, Srinagar and Deoband. Worryingly, many of the visitors travelled all over India after the event. After the gathering, they dispersed in 20-30 buses. 

One man who tested positive in Andhra Pradesh is also connected to this event. 

In the worst-case scenario, this could lead to a huge jump in coronavirus cases in Delhi. There are close to 1,100 cases in the country, including 29 deaths.

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