The Assam government has set a deadline for the elusive Tablighi Jamaat attendees who have returned home to come for screening voluntarily or face charges under the Disaster Management Act.
Of the 26 people who tested positive for the COVID-19 pandemic, 25 have been associated with the Jamaats event at Nizamuddin in Delhi last month.
We have been appealing since the first Nizamuddin-linked positive case was detected in Assam. Various mosque committees have also coordinated with us and sent out appeals, but attendees are yet to come out for the mandatory screening, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday.
He said the elusive attendees have time till Monday midnight to self-care. Those who declare or are made to undergo screening from tomorrow [Tuesday] will be given medical care but charges under the Act will be filed against them, he said.
The Centre, Mr. Sarma said, had provided a list of 556 names of people from Assam who attended the Nizamuddin event while 275 more names were sourced locally. Samples of 128 people remain to be collected. We hope they will emerge on their own and get tested before the deadline, he said.
Some of those who attended the Nizamuddin event have appealed to the elusive men to give up for your own good. They included former film actor Mirel Quddus who released a video highlighting the positives of getting screened and quarantined.
The Health Minister also said the State government was considering starting a permit system for people willing to enter Assam after the coronavirus lockdown period ends. Permanent residents of the State might also have to seek permits in advance for travelling outside, he added.
Till Monday afternoon, 75,981 people were in quarantine in Assam, most of them at home. They will be allowed to move out of quarantine centres from April 10 in regulated batches after a health test the day before.