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Jakarta Post

Hundreds of Indonesian 'tabligh' attendees, 14 with COVID-19, stuck in locked down India

  • Apriza Pinandita
    Apriza Pinandita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, April 2, 2020   /   01:11 pm
Hundreds of Indonesian 'tabligh' attendees, 14 with COVID-19, stuck in locked down India Men wear protective masks as they sit inside a bus that will take them to a quarantine facility due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in Nizamuddin, New Delhi, India, on March 31. (REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

The Foreign Ministry has confirmed that hundreds of Indonesian citizens who recently participated in a tabligh event – an Islamic mass gathering -- in New Delhi remain stuck in India as the South Asian country imposed a three-week lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

Fourteen Indonesians who were among the participants have tested positive for COVID-19, the ministry's director for citizen’s protection, Judha Nugraha, said.

“As of March 30, at least 731 Indonesian citizens, the participants of a tabligh, are across Indian states. They are those who have been affected by the lockdown imposed by the Indian government until April 14,” Judha said in a virtual press briefing on Wednesday.

The Tabligh-e-Jamaat’s Markaz in Nizamuddin West in Delhi, held last month, has emerged as a major COVID-19 hot spot with at least 128 positive cases across the country.

The center for Nizamuddin events has advised all states and union territories to “immediately trace, screen and quarantine” the estimated 2,000 foreigners who attended the religious gathering, The Statesman reported.

Fifty tested positive in Tamil Nadu, 24 in New Delhi, 21 in Telangana, 21 in Andhra Pradesh, 10 in Andamans and one each in Assam and Jammu and Kashmir after attending the gathering.

Judha said among the 14 participants from Indonesia who tested positive for the coronavirus, 10 had recovered, while four others were still in treatment.

“Our envoy in New Delhi, together with the Indonesian Embassy’s task force for COVID-19, met with the Indonesian tabligh participants in New Delhi on Tuesday to give moral support. They also called on [the citizens] to obey the call from authorities there,” Judha said.

The Indian Home Ministry, in a letter addressed to state chief secretaries and police chiefs, has said that if any foreigner tests negative for the deadly coronavirus, they should be “immediately deported on the first available flight”.

“Till that time, such person must be confined and quarantined by their host organization, ” the government said in its advisory as quoted by The Statesman.

“Our missions in New Delhi and Mumbai will help the Indonesian citizens, especially the tabligh participants, process their permit extensions with Indian immigration if their visa is close to expiring,” Judha said.

According to Worldometer, India had recorded 1,998 cases of COVID-19 and 58 fatalities as of Thursday.