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Guwahati mosque Covid-19 hotspot: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Masjid sealed over fears of more cases
Security personnel keep vigil outside the Athgaon Kabarstan Masjid after it was sealed on Friday.
Security personnel keep vigil outside the Athgaon Kabarstan Masjid after it was sealed on Friday.
Picture by UB Photos

A Staff Reporter   |   Guwahati   |   Published 10.04.20, 07:06 PM

The Athgaon Kabarstan Masjid here was sealed on Friday after three positive Covid-19 patients were found to have attended a religious function at the mosque with 100 others last month.

After a person from lower Assam’s Dhubri district tested positive on Thursday, a police probe revealed at least three Covid-19 patients attended a religious function at the mosque on March 12. A massive contact-tracing process has been launched.


Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “The probe also revealed that at least eight persons who came back from the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin in New Delhi were present at the masjid on March 12. We fear this may lead to more persons getting infected. The Athgaon Kabarstan Masjid has emerged as the ‘hotbed’ in the state like Nizamuddin in Delhi.”

The Kamrup (metro) district administration has sealed the premises and declared it as a containment zone. No one will be allowed to trespass there.

“What was unfortunate that the masjid committee initially did not alert the authority about the function. We have so far found 58 contacts and more are being traced. Some of them have been already sent to quarantine. We once again seek everyone’s support to stop the spread of the virus,” Sarma added.

A member of the management committee of the mosque said they have been “fully” cooperating with the police and the district administration from day one. “We have provided the list of people who had visited the mosque,” said a committee member, adding that nine persons who had participated in the programme are already in the quarantine facility at Sarusajai sports complex, 12 in Maligaon and 15 in Singimari.

Athgaon Masjid will be the second containment zone in the city after the high-end Spanish Garden apartment complex, where the city’s first Covid-19 patient tested positive on Friday night. The district administration has barred the entry and exit of any person or vehicle from the complex for at least 14 days, except for medical emergency, to contain the spread of the virus from the complex, located in the middle of the city. It has 150 flats.

Tibrewal has since tested negative in tests carried out on April 8 and 9 but will remain under quarantine with his family for 14 days, Sarma said. As many as 111 people, who came in contact with Tibrewal, are also under quarantine.

He had returned from Delhi on March 1 but was the first of the 29 positive cases in the state with no link to the Nizamuddin congregation.

The state administration had stepped up efforts to trace those who had attended the event at Nizamuddin but with its plea going unheeded, the state police had threatened legal action against those not voluntarily coming forward to get themselves examined.

Minister of state for health and family welfare Pijush Hazarika on Friday visited the Athgaon Masjid and took stock of the situation.

In Assam, 29 Covid-19 cases have been detected in 12 districts so far.

While Golaghat district has the highest number of positive cases with nine, Nalbari and Morigaon have four cases each. Goalpara has three positive cases, followed by Dhubri with two. Hailakandi, Kamrup (metro), Cachar, North Lakhimpur, Kamrup, South Salmara-Mankachar and Karimganj districts have one case each.

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