328 new COVID-19 cases, 12 deaths, 9,000 Jamaat contacts quarantined: Health ministry

Employees of Dr Lal PathLabs check results of coronavirus tests (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP) (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)

New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) About 400 COVID-19 positive cases have been found whose epidemiological linkage can be traced to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Addressing the daily briefing, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agrawal said 328 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 12 new deaths have been reported since Wednesday.

He said 1,965 coronavirus cases have been reported so far in India.

Additionally, about 9,000 Tablighi Jamaat members and their primary contacts have been quarantined till now across the country in view of the coronavirus infection, a senior home ministry official said on Thursday.

Punya Salila Srivastava, a joint secretary in the Union Home Ministry, told reporters during a daily briefing that out of about 2,000 such Tablighi Jamaat members in Delhi, 1,804 have been shifted to quarantine centres while 334 symptomatic persons have been admitted to hospitals.

She said these numbers are a result of a 'massive effort' that was undertaken by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in coordination with states to identify Tablighi Jamaat workers or members in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

'Yesterday, the cabinet secretary through video conferencing with chief secretaries and DGPs asked them to initiate intensive contact tracing of Tablighi Jamaat participants and implement containment measures on war-footing,” Agrawal said.

After contact tracing and sampling, about 400 positive cases have been identified whose epidemiological linkage can be traced to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster, he said.

This includes 173 from Tamil Nadu, 11 from Rajasthan, nine from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 47 from Delhi, two from Puducherry, 22 from Jammu and Kashmir, 33 from Telengana, 67 from Andhra Pradesh and 16 from Assam.

These numbers are increasing as more samples are being tested, Agrawal said.

Regarding the Dharavi COVID19 positive case, he said the building there has been sealed and sample collection and contact tracing is going on as per protocol.

The joint secretary said that the prime minister has urged states to manage the coronavirus crisis at the district level.

Orders have been placed for over 1.5 cr personal protective equipment (PPEs) and supply has already started, he said, adding that domestic manufacturing of N-95 masks has been stepped up.

The official also informed that there have been limited cases of doctors on duty testing COVID-19 positive and asserted that it is important to follow infection prevention control at hospitals.