Bengaluru, April 6 (IANS) Worried over the fallout of coronavirus spread if not contained, the state-run Karnataka Wakf board appealed to all Tablighi Jamaat returnees to take the Covid test at the earliest, a top official said on Monday.
“We have appealed to all Tablighis who returned to the state from New Delhi’s Nizamuddin mosque congregation (ijtema) in March to take the Covid test at the state-run hospitals immediately in their interest,” Wakq board chief executive Islauddin Gadyal said in a statement here.
Though the state government learnt about 400 Tablighis returning to the southern state after the event, 200-250 of them took the test at the state-run hospitals till date.
About 20 of the Tablighi attendees, including 4 women tested positive and are under treatment at the designated hospitals, while the remaining of them were isolated and kept in home quarantine for observation though they tested negative.
“We don’t have data on how many Tablighis are across the state and how many of them participated in the 6-day congregation at Markaz from March 13-18, as the sect has no registered branch in Karnataka,” a board official told IANS.
The state’s Muslim leaders, including former ministers and legislators also appealed to all Tablighi returnees who are yet to test to inform the state health department on their whereabouts and their health status.
“Our appeal is to those Tablighis returnees who did not yet report for test irrespective of their health status, as they attended the event and would have come in contact with others infected by the virus. The simple test will show if they are infected or not,” said the official on the condition of anonymity.
State health commissioner P.K. Pandey on April 3 told IANS that based on inputs from the Union home ministry and the state police, about 1,000 people in the state were linked to the Tablighi attendees and efforts were on to trace and isolate them.
Of the 20 Tablighis testing positive, a 65-year-old patient died on March 27 while he was under treatment at Sira in Tumakuru district on return from Delhi in train.
State Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa also sought the help of the Muslim political and religious leaders to trace the remaining Tablighi returnees to take the test as they had fanned out across the state for their missionary activities.
“Though we have also directed heads of mosques and other Islamic institutions in the state to contact the Tablighi returnees, the 21-day lockdown since March 25, ban on mass prayers (namaz) at masjids and absence of public transport are delaying their efforts to reach out to the attendees for testing,” the official added.
The board also informed the local media, especially the Urdu press to inform the untraced Tablighi returnees to contact the state health department on its helpline (080-2971-1171) or visit the nearest state-run district or taluka hospital for the test.