4,291 cases linked to Markaz event in Delhi: Health ministry

New Delhi: Of the 14,378 coronavirus infections reported in the country so far, 4,291 cases in 23 states and Union Territories are linked to the Markaz event held in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area in March, the Union health ministry said on Saturday.

Addressing a daily media briefing to give updates on the COVID-19 situation in the country, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said most of the Markaz event-related cases have been found in states with high burden of the disease, such as Tamil Nadu (84 per cent), Telengana (79 per cent), Delhi (63 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (59 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (61 per cent).

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“A total of 4,291 COVID-19 cases or 29.8 per cent of the 14,378 coronavirus infections reported so far are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation,” he said.

The health ministry official also said that in some states which have reported fewer number of COVID-19 infections, also had cases with links to the Markaz event.

For example, the only coronavirus case reported in Arunachal Pradesh till now is related to the Markaz event. Similarly, 32 of the 35 cases reported in Assam and 10 out of 12 cases from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are linked to the same congregation, he said.

According to the Union health ministry, 991 fresh COVID-19 cases and 43 fatalities have been reported in the country in 24 hours since Friday morning, taking the total number of cases to 14,378 and the death toll to 480.

Till now, 1,992, that is around 13.85 per cent of the COVID-19 patients, have been cured of the disease, Agarwal said.

The mortality rate in COVID-19 cases in India has been around 3.3 per, he said, adding 14.4 per cent of the deaths are between 0-45 years, 10.3 per cent between 45- 60 years, 33.1 per cent between 60-75 years and 42.2 per cent fatalities among people aged 75 and above.

“So, we see that 75.3 per cent deaths have been in among those aged 60 or above and in 83 per cent cases co-morbidities have been found,” Agarwal said and reiterated that the elderly and people with co-morbid conditions are at high risk.

The joint secretary in the health ministry also said that protocol for using rapid antibody test kits have been shared with the states.

“Rapid antibody test kits is to be used in hotspots. It can also be used for surveillance and for epidemiological purposes in such areas where COVID-19 cases have not emerged so far.

“RT-PCR test is the gold standard for frontline test and antibody test cannot replace this test. Utility of rapid antibody test is primarily for assessing prevalence of infection in a particular area,” he said.