Dharavi man who died hosted 10 Tablighi Jamaat members

Dharavi’s first Covid-19 positive case has a likely link to the Tablighi Jamaat markaz in Delhi. The police investigation into the contacts of the 56-year-old garment unit owner who died on April 1 has revealed that 10 Jamaat members stayed in one of his vacant houses in Dharavi between March 22 and March 24, and four of them visited him before heading for Kerala. The test results of 15 other high-risk contacts of the deceased man were still awaited at the time of going to press.

Dharavi has been under intense surveillance ever since three people tested positive. One of them is a doctor from Wockhardt hospital and has a clinic on the main road here. Several buildings in the area have locked themselves to keep all visitors out.

In Worli Koliwada, a 53-year-old activist succumbed late on Thursday night. His wife and son, however, tested negative on Friday. Since March 30, 15 people, including two nurses, have tested positive in the area, which also reported its first death of a 63-yearold man on March 31. Worli Koliwada has emerged another feared hotspot in these last few days and has been sealed by the BMC.

With this, the number of positive cases in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) rose to 278, with 21 deaths. On Friday alone, there were 47 fresh cases and four people died. The city has emerged as a hotspot not just in Maharashtra but also India. The state has so far recorded 490 positive cases and 26 deaths due to the pandemic.

Dharavi’s Tablighi link

Of the 10 Jamaat members who lived in one of the Dharavi houses of the deceased garment unit owner, four of them came to visit him where he lived. On March 24, they left for Kerala. An official from the Shahu Nagar police station said, “Prima facie, the man was infected by one of his visitors. We have informed the Kerala government to trace, isolate and test them.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police Niyati Thaker confirmed the development and said a probe is under way. Police officials also said that the deceased man’s mobile locations in the 14 days prior to his death are being studied, on the basis of which his other contacts will be traced.

Based on the family’s response to interrogation, the BMC has made a list of 15 immediate high-risk contacts. These included the man’s wife, his four sons, two daughters, immediate neighbours, the local doctor who he had visited and two of the staff at the doctor’s clinic.

On Friday alone, there were 47 fresh cases and four people died.

A BMC response team is now visiting the mosques in the area. “We are trying to identify at least the four Jamaat members who visited the deceased man,” said G-North Ward assistant municipal commissioner Kiran Dighavkar.

Dharavi doctor who tested positive

The 35-year-old doctor who tested positive on Thursday night has a clinic on the main road in Dharavi. His is the third positive case from the area. The doctor also works at Wockhardt Hospital, from where a few positive cases have already been reported. BMC officials said the doctor might have been infected at the hospital and not in Dharavi.

“His family has been placed under quarantine and were to be tested on Friday. We are tracing his other contacts. The building where he lives has also been sealed and a list of all high-risk contacts is being made,” a BMC official said.

The new hotbed: Worli Koliwada

The 53-year-old man who died late on Thursday night was the office bearer of the Worli Koliwada Nakwa society. His neighbours said he had opposed the BMC’s coastal road project and worked to protect the rights of the fishing community. His wife and son have tested negative but will continue to stay in quarantine.

However, civic officials said that despite the BMC sealing the entire Koliwada, locals are still heading out into the sea using their fishing boats and then shopping at Mahim Koliwada a few kilometres away. “This is dangerous as it can spread the virus to Mahim Koliwada as well. We have asked the police to track these people and take action against them,” a senior civic official said.

The city has emerged as a hotspot not just in Maharashtra but also India.

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