New Delhi: About 9,000 Tablighi Jamaat members and their primary contacts have been quarantined till now in the country after the government undertook “massive efforts” as part of steps to check the spread of the novel coronavirus, a senior home ministry official said on Thursday.
Punya Salila Srivastava, a joint secretary in the Union Home Ministry, also told reporters during a daily briefing that out of about 2,000 such Tablighi Jamaat members in Delhi, 1,804 have been shifted to quarantine centres while 334 symptomatic persons admitted to hospitals.
She said among the ones in Delhi, 250 are foreigners.
“The home ministry along with states and union territories launched a massive effort and about 9,000 Tablighi Jammat workers and their primary contacts were identified and quarantined. Among these, 1,306 people are foreigners,” Srivastava said during the briefing.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown from March 25 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that has claimed live and infected people.
She said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is constantly reviewing the ongoing lockdown in the country and added that the home secretary (Ajay Bhalla) has written to states and union territories that “the lockdown measures should be implemented in letter and spirit”.
The home secretary has said in his communication that the violation of lockdown measures is a punishable offence under the disaster management Act and the Indian Penal Code, Srivastava said.
The home secretary has also said in his communication that public authorities in all states should ensure that these provisions of law are “widely circulated” for awareness of the public so that the lockdown is effective, she said.
Srivastava said as correct information supply is “very important” during disasters and fake news or rumour mongering can create panic, the home secretary had requested his counterpart in the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry for creation of a web portal where people can verify the factual position, news and information vis-a-vis COVID-19.
The I&B Ministry, she said, has created a special unit headed by a director general-level officer and people can write to it at firstname.lastname@example.org to clear their doubts about any unverified news.
The Press Information Bureau’s COVID-19 Fact Check Unit (FCU) became operational on Thursday and the unit is headed by the bureau’s director general, Nitin Wakankar, a statement issued by the PIB said.
The home secretary has also asked chief secretaries that they establish such a mechanism at the state level too, Srivastava said.
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