NEW DELHI: Devouts staying at lodging facility at Markaz, the headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat (Islamic preaching group), in Nizamuddin Basti area, presumably neglected early symptom of coronavirus among some.
They took signs of the infection as seasonal flu and continued taking medicines from in-house dispensary for mild cold and fever. When shifting of Markaz inmates to government quarantine facilities began on March 27, some of them had assumed that they would be allowed to go home after the medical examination.
"Our group made a stopover at Delhi Markaz. This is our first visit to the city. All of us, who reached Delhi, had mild fever and cough so we thought that we were being taken for treatment. I wasn't aware of the disease (COVID-19) and also we were not told anything while shifting. I was brought to this dawakhana (dispensary) then came to know that several of colleagues are here for virus treatment," Sabir Manipuri, who is present in quarantine at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital at Tahirpur told The Morning Standard over phone.
Manipur native-Sabir was part of the third batch of 33 inmates, evacuated from Nizamuddin on March 28. "Medicines are being given to people who are having cough and fever. I have been tested once. Doctors said two more tested would be required," he said.
During five-day long joint operation by Delhi Police and district addministration, total 2,346 devout were shifted to various quarantine facilities and designated hospitals for coronavirus patients and so far 259 from Markaz have been tested positive.
In 12 government run facilities including paid accommodations (five star hotels), 3,424 persons are in isolation in the nay capital. Mufti Mihzaan (name changed), staying at Badarpur isolation facility, said occupants in Markaz were under the impression that flu was due to erratic weather conditions in Delhi.
"Weather at this point Delhi is conducive for seasonal flu. One day it was raining and next day, temperature would increase suddenly. Jamaatis (follower of Jamaat) at Markaz were from south Indian states in majority. They are not used to such clime. Hence, mainly they were having fever and cold," said Mihzaan, a resident of Delhi.
Mohammad Imran, also a city resident, under observation at DDA flats-Dwarka quarantine facility, said three doctors at the service at Markaz were giving medicines to sick inmates. "Influenza at this time of the year is annual occurring in Delhi. Arrangements were there at Markaz to treat whoever falls ill. Three doctors are available at OPD service on its campus," he said in telephonic conversation.