Two policemen wearing coronavirus-themed helmets during an awareness programme in Bengaluru. (PTI)
A mystery surrounding the source of the COVID-19 infection that killed a 60-year-old man in Sira town of Karnataka’s Tumkur district has been resolved, with the state health department ascertaining that he attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi in March.
The man had no foreign travel history.
“We were racking our brains on the source of the infection. We have now connected it to his participation in the religious event in Delhi,” said a senior doctor involved in contact tracing by the state health department.
Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu confirmed in a tweet Tuesday that the Tumkur man attended the Tablighi Markaz in Nizamuddin.
As many as 10 people who participated in the congregation have died so far. After discovering that the 60-year-old man who died in Tumkur on March 27 was infected at the event, health authorities in Karnataka have placed in quarantine 78 people linked to Tablighi Jamaat.
“We don’t have specific information on which days they attended. They have been home quarantined and are now being moved to government quarantine facilities,’’ Karnataka health secretary Jawaid Akhtar said. “We are not sure if all 78 quarantined persons participated in the congregation in Delhi but they are all from the Tablighi Jamaat basically and a lot of mixing has happened.”
Police Tuesday said that among the Tablighi Jamaat members quarantined in Karnataka are 50 foreign nationals — 19 from Kyrgyzstan, 20 from Indonesia, four from South Africa, three from Gambia, and one each from the US, the UK, France and Kenya. The police have said as many as 300 people from Karnataka linked to Tablighi Jamaat participated in the event in Delhi and efforts are on to put each one of them in quarantine.
According to officials, the 60-year-old man from Tumkur boarded Kongu Express in Delhi on March 11 and reached Yeshwantpur on March 14. From there, he took a bus to Sira, said officials. His 13-year-old son tested positive for COVID-19 Monday, officials said.
Health authorities have called upon passengers who boarded the train 11 to contact the helpline.
So far, three persons have died due to COVID-19 in Karnataka. Thirteen fresh cases were reported in the state on Tuesday, taking the total count to 101.
Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?