Assam has been able to trace nearly 500 people from the state who took part in the religious congregation in Delhi's Nizamuddin area last month that has emerged as the biggest coronavirus hotspot in India.
At least 16 people of those traced to the Tablighi Jamaat event held at Nizamuddin have tested for coronavirus, , Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday. .
"We had information about 732 people linked to the Nizamuddin fiasco in Assam. In our investigation, we found 226 were not present at the Markaz but in the general Nizamuddin area. We were left to find out 503 people. We launched a manhunt. We have been able to trace 488 people. We are still looking for 15 people," Mr Sarma said on Thursday.
Assam police was looking out for over 100 people and most of them had gone into "hiding". When even the police failed, Assam government's dedicated health helpline -104- came to the rescue. Numerous calls started coming in from villagers and even relatives of many who had returned from the Nizamuddin congregation but did not disclose it, officials said. This is where the health department helpline team again came in. They started speaking to these people and convinced them.
Armed with the tip-offs, the health department with the help of district authorities and the police launched an operation on Wednesday evening to locate all the "untraceable" people within 24 hours, a senior Assam health department official said.
"We have quarantined 395 persons who are Tablighi attendees. Of them, we have collected samples of 361, and have sent for test. The results will come only on Friday. We will get a clear picture by tomorrow first half of the day. The figure might go up," Mr Sarma said.