Kolkata: The Bengal government on Tuesday traced 40 persons, including several foreign nationals, staying in mosques in Kolkata and elsewhere in the state who had been to the Tablighi Jamaat’s Nizamuddin headquarters in Delhi earlier this month.
All of them are being shifted to a facility near the airport where a special isolation unit is being set up; the entire band of 40 will be tested on Tuesday itself and quarantined for the next two weeks.
The hectic activity in Kolkata coincided with a central input, which said 73 people who attended the Tablighi Jamaat meet in Delhi might have come to Bengal.
Eight of those traced are now in a mosque near New Market and all of them are Delhi residents. Mosque secretary Mohammad Nooruddin told TOI that the group reached the mosque on March 22, the day of the janata curfew, and were supposed to leave for Bangladesh three days later.
“But, then, the lockdown was declared and everyone was told to stay where they were. So they could not return. They have been staying in the mosque since then,” Nooruddin said.
“They are in good health. We are getting in touch with the state government right away to help isolate them till they can return home,” Nooruddin said on Tuesday morning. State health department officials said later on Tuesday that the process of shifting these eight people had already started.
“A lot of people have got in touch with us. We have already identified 40 people who are being shifted to the facility that has been earmarked for this purpose. Cops are coordinating the entire process. We will conduct the necessary tests on Tuesday and, if they they are found to be fit after the quarantine, we will help them reach home,” a Bengal Haj department spokesperson said.
“All those from Bengal who participated in this event (Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi) are being identified and will be immediately tested for Covid-19 and put in the mandatory 14-day quarantine,” state home secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay confirmed on his Twitter handle.
Officials said the central inputs that came on Monday night had alerted the Bengal government about the possibility of several Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian nationals being part of the 73 who came to the state. The Bengal government then put together a core team, including a senior MP, to coordinate with the administration and sent out a message to all imams across the state to alert it immediately if they came across any such persons. “The response has been very good and we are still receiving information,” a senior officer said.
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