Four Tablighis test positive in Moga; visited seven other villages in Bathinda en route

Divya Goyal
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Of the 13 samples, four have tested positive, eight including local maulvi are negative and one has been sent for re-testing.

PUNJAB'S MOGA recorded its first coronavirus cases on Tuesday as four followers of Tablighi Jamaat tested positive in the district.

The four patients are aged 24, 25, 26 and 64. Health officials said all of them were asymptomatic and have been admitted in the isolation ward of Moga Civil Hospital.

Police said a group of 13 persons including 12 Tablighi Jamaat followers from Mumbai and a local maulvi were living in Cheeda village in Baghapurana sub-division of Moga. The group of 12 had arrived at a mosque in the village on March 23. Police tracked them down while searching for Jamaat followers. They were put in quarantine on April 3 at the mosque itself. Later, samples of all 13 were taken, of which four have returned positive. The local maulvi has tested negative.

However, what has turned the situation into a nightmare for health and police officials is the fact that the group of 12, after starting from Mumbai on February 12 and then reaching Punjab on February 16, visited at least eight other villages in Bathinda and Moga districts en route Delhi.

Moga health officials are now tracing their contacts and an alert has been sent to the Bathinda administration.
Dr Jaswant Singh, assistant civil surgeon, Moga, told The Indian Express, "This group started from Mumbai on February 12. They reached Delhi on February 13 where they stayed at Kali Masjid till February 15. Then they reached Bathinda where they stayed from February 16-17. From February 18-22 they were at Bajjonana village, February 23-28 at Dyalpura, February 29-March 1 at Kothe Guru Ke, March 3-7 at Maluka, March 8-15 at Malla, March 16-18 at Bhagta Bhai Ka-- all in Bathinda. Then on March 19, they reached Sukhanand village in Moga district. After spending three days there, they reached the mosque at Cheeda on March 23."

The Moga administration has sealed Cheeda and Sukhanand villages while the Bathinda administration has been alerted to start contact tracing in their seven locations.

Of the 13 samples, four have tested positive, eight including local maulvi are negative and one has been sent for re-testing. "The eight persons who tested negative have been quarantined again. The four positives are otherwise in good health, without any symptoms," said the assistant civil surgeon.

Baghapurana DSP Arvinder Singh said, "Twelve of them said they stayed at Kali Masjid in Delhi from February 13-15. They had come to Punjab to visit several mosques."

Dr Maneesh Arora, district epidemiologist, said source of infection is not known as of now. "History of disease is not known but four of them have tested positive. Sometimes the body is a carrier of virus but there are no symptoms. All four are asymptomatic."

Bathinda Deputy Commissioner B Srinivasan said samples of 22 persons who came in contact with this group have been sent for testing and other contacts are being traced.

Punjab govt to 22 yet-to-be traced Tablighis: Come forward for screening or face criminal prosecution

THE PUNJAB Health Department on Tuesday gave a 24-hour deadline to all Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) followers who attended the Nizamuddin Markaz event in Delhi and have not come forward so far, to report to the nearest police station or face criminal prosecution. A government statement said they must appear for screening in the next 24 hours.

Of the 467 Tablighis who had reportedly come to Punjab from Nizamuddin, police have so far traced 445 participants, while 22 are yet to be tracked. Samples had been collected of 350 of those traced, and of these, 12 have been found positive and 111 negative. The results for the remaining 227 are awaited, said a spokesperson. (ENS)