Guwahati(Assam),April 10 :The Assam government has sealed a mosque in Guwahati where three persons who later tested positive for COVID-19 had stayed to attend a religious congregation last month, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday.
Two of them had returned to Assam after attending a Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi”s Nizamuddin area, which emerged as the biggest hotspot of coronavirus in the country. The third stayed with them at the Athgaon Kabarsthan Masjid and accompanied one of them to Dhubri, Sharma said at a press conference here.
Squarely blaming the Jaamat for the spread of coronavirus, Sarma said of the total 29 confirmed cases in Assam, 28are linked to the group.
He said even the first COVID-19 death in the state on Friday had attended the Jamaat gathering in Delhi after returning from Saudi Arabia.
The 65-year-old retired BSF personnel was buried as per the protocol near his home in Hailakandi in the presence of district officials. His family members are in home quarantine and watched the last rites from their terrace, Sarma said.
He was confirmed positive for the virus on Tuesday night.
Sarma said at least 100 people attended the Guwahati mosque congregation on March 12 and the organisers have so far given the names of 58 people, who have been quarantined.
“The fact that a congregation was held here was brought to our notice much later and we have asked the organisers to give a list of all people who attended it,” he said.
The masjid has been sealed and declared a containment zone with no entry or exit allowed. The administration will provide essential items to the caretaker and other functionaries staying inside the mosque, he added.
The government is considering to lodge an FIR against one of the three persons, the first COVID-19 case in Dhubri, as he hid the fact that he attended the Jamaat event.
“He was asked by doctors in three hospitals, where he had gone for treatment after he felt unwell, whether he had attended the event in Nizamuddin or not but he denied and as a result now all these doctors have been quarantined,”Sarma said.
“We are facing a shortage of doctors in these hospitals and we are considering to file an FIR against him,” he added.
The remaining 28 patients are stable and five of them have tested negative after treatment but they will be tested again,the minister said. They will be released only after their mandatory quarantine period is over.
Sarma also slammed the state Congress chief Ripun Bora for alleging shortage of PPEs and N95 masks in the state, and said the stock of protective equipment was satisfactory and more was expected to come in the next few days.
“I request him to check the facts with us before tweeting such statements as it leads to confusion and demoralize the medical staff who are working so hard in such trying times,” he said.
Sarma announced a financial assistance for people suffering from cancer or requiring kidney transplant or heart surgery stuck outside the state due to the lockdown.
He said the patients should contact the state helpline numbers and the assistance will be decided according to the number of patients stranded.
(With PTI inputs)
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