Assam Govt Says All Four COVID-19 Patients in State Attended Nizamuddin Event

Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday that the state government was attempting to trace the whole list of state residents who had attended the event.

Guwahati: Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday (April 1) said the total number of coronavirus positive patients in Assam has increased to four, adding that by late Wednesday evening the figures will be in ‘double-digit’. By the time the report was published, the number of cases went up to 13.

He said all the present patients in Assam had attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Delhi’s Nizamuddin including the 52-year-old patient, who on Tuesday became the first from the state to test positive for the coronavirus.

Four more from Assam who attended the event have tested positive for coronavirus and are in New Delhi undergoing treatment.

Sarma made the appeal to those from Assam who attended the event, were in close contact with the four and have returned to Assam, asking them to come forward and inform the authorities immediately.

It is not clear what the Assam government did to contain the spread since the home ministry issued the alert on the Nizamuddin event on March 21.

Addressing a press conference Sarma said the four news patients in Assam are among the 347 people who had returned to the state on or after March 16 from Delhi after attending the event. The state was able to locate and identify 230 people by late evening on Tuesday. But the minister said that the remaining 117 people are yet to be traced.

He informed the media that a total of 196 samples were collected from the 230 people by late Tuesday and were distributed among the state-run medical college-cum-hospitals.

Also read: As Assam Gets First COVID-19 Patient, ‘Nizamuddin List’ Violates Privacy of Many

Testing was done at Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH). The four who tested positives are from Nalbari district and the remaining three from Jagiroad in Morigaon district. The youngest to have tested positive is 19 years old.

“Contact tracing [for the remaining 117] is going on. We tried to contact them on their cell phones…besides that, some of their families are not cooperating with us. It was through the list that the central government provided us with that we were able to get hold of over 456 names of people who were at and around Nizamuddin between March 11 and 16. On top of that 91 more names of people surfaced through the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP). Through the toll-free emergency number of 104, 91 more people were identified,” said Sarma.

He further continued that among the total number of 547 (456 plus 91) who were in and around the Nizamuddin area in New Delhi, 134 people had passed the area between March 11 and 16. While they may not have been at the congregation, their cell phones were intercepted by the towers there.

These 134 people, according to Sarma, are under ‘administration’s observation’.