Malaysians Among Foreigners Quarantined in India over Coronavirus Suspicions

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Malaysians are among many foreigners have been quarantined in India over coronavirus suspicions and at least one has tested positive.

They came to India recently to participate in Islamic preaching and prayer events of the Tablighi Jamaat organisation.

Many were present at a large gathering, attended by both foreigners and Indians, at the Tabligh centre in New Delhi.

EPA

A total of 2,361 people were evacuated from the Tabligh headquarters building, widely known as Markaz, in the city’s Nizamuddin neighbourhood during an evacuation process that lasted 36 hours and ended on Wednesday morning.

Most people were sent to quarantine centres and 617 admitted to hospitals, Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said.

Some Malaysians, associated with Tabligh, or Islamic missionary work, who attended the Nizamuddin event are under quarantine in Delhi.

A 22-year-old Malaysian woman tested Covid-19 positive in Ranchi in the eastern state of Jiharkand.

According to the Times of India, she is currently undergoing treatment in Jiharkand’s Rajendra Institute of Medical Science and is the state’s first Covid-19 case.

The woman had travelled by train to Jiharkand’s capital Ranchi from Delhi on March 17.

“… A curfew has been imposed in the densely populated Hindpiri area in Ranchi where the woman stayed at a private residence near a mosque for several days. Over 10,000 residents in the area are being screened,” stated the report.

According to the local police, the group which the woman was part of did not report its arrival in the city to the administration as required.

In Tamil Nadu, Times of India said more than 60 foreigners from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Kyrgystan have been put under surveillance after attending the Delhi meeting.

“At least six of them, including four Indonesians, have tested positive. All of them are in the isolation ward in the Salem government hospital.

The report said foreigners have also been placed on the Covid-19 watch in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Bengal and Haryana.

In Madhya Pradesh, the state government identified at least 20 people from Malaysia and Indonesia who attended the gathering in Delhi.

“The foreigners came to India in the second week of March, before Covid-19 travel restrictions were clamped. Officials have found that they stayed in two mosques in Bagh Farhat Afza area of Bhopal,” said Times of India.

Apart from Malaysians, Indonesians and Bangladeshis, other nationalities who attended the gathering, which was held during different periods last month, were from Tanzania, Brunei, Iran, Ghana, Mauritius, Ivory Coast, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, Gambia, USA, UK, France, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Kenya.

Meanwhile, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the government is working closely with India to track the Malaysian citizens who attended a Muslim religious event in New Dehli from March 13 to 15.

He said that the government is trying to identify those who attended the religious meeting held at Tabligh-e-Jamaat’s Markaz, which is located in a dense Nizamuddin area.

“We are trying to find the information by contacting our counterparts in India, but it is not easy,” he told a press conference this evening.

“We have a few leads and hopefully we would be able to locate them. However, I can’t share the intelligence we have and the technology information we used to check them,” he added.

When asked whether this group could create a new Covid-19 cluster, the Health DG said it was possible.

“The International Health Regulations via its committee will look for the Covid-19 positive cases. Just like how we detect some of our foreign workers.

“For example, if a foreigner tested positive, we would inform their respective country. So, it is the same there. If they detect any cases, they will share the information with us. It is the collaboration of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) network,” he said.

The religious centre has emerged as one of India’s Covid-19’s hotspots, with at least six deaths and 37 positive cases found as of yesterday.

Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Some 441 people from the centre are being tested for Covid-19 and 1,107 others have been placed under quarantine.

Earlier, Dr Noor Hisham said some of the Tabligh participants sought by the Health Ministry for Covid-19 testing have gone overseas.

He said they were among the estimated 5,000 members of Muslim missionaries who have yet to come forward for screening.

“They have activities overseas, so they may not be back yet.

Shafwan Zaidon

“We have the numbers of those who went overseas, and we are trying to trace them with the help of the police,” he said.

Yesterday, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said his staff is working with the police to trace the 87 Malaysians who were in Indonesia to attend the aborted Tabligh gathering in Sulawesi.

On Monday, Dr Noor Hisham said authorities are looking for 5,084 attendees of a local Tabligh event late last month to test them for Covid-19.