District-Wise Numbers: Tamil Nadu Government Was Doing Well To Contain Covid-19, And Then The Tablighi Jamaat Showed Up

by Venu Gopal Narayanan - Apr 4, 2020 08:54 AM
District-Wise Numbers: Tamil Nadu Government Was Doing Well To Contain Covid-19, And Then The Tablighi Jamaat Showed UpTamil Nadu coronavirus cases rise.
Snapshot
  • Chief Minister Palaniswami will have to redouble his efforts.

    This is unfortunate. Up till now, he and the state government had been managing the pandemic in near-exemplary fashion.

Until the end of March, Tamil Nadu had been doing commendably well in managing the Wuhan Virus pandemic.

However, the emergence of the Tablighi Jamaat cluster in Nizamuddin, Delhi has put paid to those efforts.

As a result, the Jamaat attendees’ unforgivably irresponsible behaviour, of choosing to use public transport without a care in the world, has led to an efflorescence of cases in multiple sites across Tamil Nadu.

A district-wise table of crowd-sourced patient details, as of midnight, 3 April, offers many valuable insights:

Tablighi Jamaat cases in Tamil Nadu by District: 3 April 2300hrs
Tablighi Jamaat cases in Tamil Nadu by District: 3 April 2300hrs
 Tablighi Jamaat cases in Tamil Nadu by District: 3 April 2300hrs
Tablighi Jamaat cases in Tamil Nadu by District: 3 April 2300hrs
Tablighi Jamaat cases in Tamil Nadu by District: 3 April 2300hrs
Tablighi Jamaat cases in Tamil Nadu by District: 3 April 2300hrs

When the Tablighi cluster was uncovered on 29 March, Tamil Nadu had registered only 50 positive cases – a heartening number considering the amount of international traffic passing through the state. Within four days, the number shot up to over 400. More are being located, identified and isolated by the authorities.

It must be infuriating for district officials, because until 29 March, the number of affected districts was holding at 28 (out of 38). And even in those 28, the bulk of the cases were restricted to the Greater Chennai area. Districts like Thanjavur, and cities like Madurai, were counting cases on the fingers of one hand.

But once the irresponsible actions of the Jamaat took hold, the situation in Tamil Nadu changed drastically.

As the data shows, multiple new clusters took root.

In twelve districts, including Ranipet, Thirupattur, Thoothukkudi, Ramanathapuram, Theni and others, where no cases had been reported till the 29 of March, one hundred percent of the fresh cases reported since, were identified as Tablighi Jamaat attendees of the religious conference at Nizamuddin in Delhi.

Curiously, Salem town, which had been virus-free, is reporting eight cases since 25 March. These include four Indonesian nationals, and their local guides.

In Dindigul, the numbers shot up from nil to 43 in a span of a day.

Tirunelveli district, which had reported only a solitary case, was suddenly beset with 35 new reasons to frown. And the list goes on.

Chief Minister Palaniswami will therefore have to redouble his efforts. This is truly unfortunate, because up till now, he and the state government had been managing the pandemic in near-exemplary fashion, and without any media drama.

That has now been interrupted thanks to the recklessness of the Tablighi Jamaat.

Fortunately, as explained in Swarajya yesterday, it appears that Tamil Nadu (and the rest of India), will still be able to successfully weather this needless setback, as the nation-wide lockdown continues to be enforced in an efficient manner.

Venu Gopal Narayanan is an independent upstream petroleum consultant who focuses on energy, geopolitics, current affairs and electoral arithmetic. He tweets at @ideorogue.
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