Ignoring Other Cases, UP Govt Zeroes In on Tablighis For Rise in COVID Infections

Today's press release carried a new column on the number of cases detected among Tablighi Jamaat participants even as the state government kept pushing the same picture at a press briefing.

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government is going all out to attribute the rise of coronavirus cases in the state to the mid-March Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi’s Nizamuddin, from where many affected participants travelled to different parts of the country.

Additional chief secretary (home) Avanish Kumar Awasthi on Monday made it a point to put the focus on patients who attended the event. During his routine press briefing, Awasthi devoted a bulk of the time to explaining how the Tablighi Jamaat was to blame for the rise in the number of cases.

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“Of the 305 coronavirus positive cases detected so far in UP, as many as 159 patients were participants of the Tablighi Jamaat,” he said, adding that “21 of the 27 positive cases discovered over the past 24 hours were those who attended the event.”

Even the official press release from today, charting out the spread of the virus in different districts of the state, carried a separate column on the number of positive cases detected among TJ participants over the past 24 hours. It also included another column on the total number of affected persons from the Jamaat.

Interestingly, the press release did not go into details of how the virus had crept into districts other than those where TJ members have been held responsible for the spread. Thirty-five of the state’s 75 districts have been declared as affected by coronavirus so far.

The breakdown included a new Tablighi Jamaat column.

Interestingly, Noida, which accounts for the highest cumulative number with 61 positive cases, does not have a single person of the Jamaat who has tested positive, but that was not highlighted by the official, who instead repeatedly emphasised the number of TJ participants who have tested positive.

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Even though Agra had not recorded a single TJ participant as positive today, the list highlights how the cumulative count of positive cases from among TJ members was 29 so far. Likewise, the count of positive cases from among participants was 12 in Lucknow, 14 in Ghaziabad, 13 in Shamli, 13 in Meerut and 13 in Saharanpur. In 22 other affected districts, the numbers was in single digits.