Nizamuddin West residents on March 30 said that they were worried after more than 200 people who attended a religious congregation in the locality showed symptoms for the new coronavirus and a major part of the area was cordoned off by authorities to contain any possible spread.
Over 2,000 delegates, including from Indonesia and Malaysia, attended the Tabligh-e-Jamaat from March 1-15. A large number of people continued to stay at the Jamaat's 'Markaj' (Centre) even after this period, locals said.
Delhi Police, CRPF officials and medical teams went to the locality late on Sunday night after reports said a large number of people were showing symptoms for the disease. The south Delhi neighbourhood has been virtually sealed over fears that some people may have contracted the virus.
Congress leader and former area Municipal Councillor Farhad Suri said it was a "lapse" and now all efforts should be made fight the outbreak.
"As far as I know most of the foreign delegates came from Malaysia and Indonesia where cases of coronavirus infection have been found. The establishment should have stopped them when they landed in India. Many other people came back to India even after the lockdown was declared. So it's not the time to point fingers but work together to prevent the spread of the virus," Suri said.
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Andul Bari, a local, said people were concerned over the reports.
"The area has been cordoned off. I have not been able to go out. Locals are concerned," he said.
Councillor of Daryaganj ward under which the area falls, Yasmin Kidwai blamed the government.
"This was a ticking bomb waiting to explode. The government is to be blamed for letting people come in from different countries when the threat of coronavirus has been looming on India and it had started spreading."
Kidwai said she is making efforts for repeated sanitisation of the area.A door-to-door sanitisation is also being planned, she said.