101 members of Tableeghi Jamaat, infected by coronavirus, test negative in Hyderabad

Published April 14, 2020
Wearing a mask, a member of Tableeghi Jamaat comes out of the main hall of Makki Mosque in Sehrish Nagar, Hyderabad. —  Umair Ali
Wearing a mask, a member of Tableeghi Jamaat comes out of the main hall of Makki Mosque in Sehrish Nagar, Hyderabad. — Umair Ali

At least 101 members of the Tableeghi Jamaat, who had earlier tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Hyderabad district have now tested negative, according to laboratory reports and district administration officials.

A total number of 135 samples of confirmed patients were collected on Sunday evening, out of which 129 have returned negative on Monday.

Of these 129, 101 samples belonged to members of the Tableeghi Jamaat. They were quarantined in different isolation wards ever since they tested positive in the last week of March.

Hyderabad Deputy Commissioner Fuad Soomro confirmed that the tests had returned negative. “However, a repeat test will be done on Tuesday (within 48 hours) as per the health department’s standard operating procedure (SOP) and if the result remains negative, they would be repatriated to their native districts,” he said.

After the passage of 24 hours, fresh samples will be collected from the patients. According to health department sources, teams have been despatched to isolation centres where they are being kept to collect their samples so that their results may be confirmed by Tuesday evening.

As per data collected from various hospital and health department officials, 81 samples of confirmed cases were collected from Kohsar hospital, the largest isolation facility in Hyderabad district. Of these 81, 77 samples were found to be negative while four were found positive. Barring two patients, the others were all members of the Tableeghi Jamaat.

Likewise, 29 samples of patients were obtained from the isolation centre of Isra hospital, out of which 28 were found to be negative and only one remained positive.

At the Liaquat University Hospital (LUH) isolation ward, 14 tests were found to be negative out of 15, according to LUH medical superintendent Dr Mazhar Ali Kalhoro.

According to the newly-posted DC Hyderabad, double testing is necessary and is in the interest of the patients’ own health. “We want to be sure that these patients are not carriers of the virus and can be allowed to travel to their native districts,” said the DC.

Scores of people had tested positive for the coronavirus after they had gathered for the Tableeghi Jamaat congregation in Raiwind — comprising tens of thousands of people — held from March 11 to 15 near Lahore.

Even though the fast spread of coronavirus in Pakistan had become a known fact, the Raiwind Ijtima had gone on as planned. Punjab government officials had said at the time that all their "pleas" for postponing the congregation in view of the threat of Covid-19 spread had been rejected by the organisers.

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