Union health minister Harshvardhan. (PTI)

India among worst-hit nations: health minister says time to forget Tablighi incident

Coronavirus infections are now growing at nearly 7000 per day and deaths by three-digit increases


New Delhi: India’s pandemic is now a runaway train with each day producing numbers topping the previous day’s. So on Monday, the nation emerged groggy from figures toted up on Sunday. And these were: a spike of 6,977 new coronavirus cases, the biggest day-to-day increase we have seen; a total count of 1,39,049, which puts India now in the bracket of the worst-sufferers of the pandemic, and a death toll of 4,024, which meant that 159 people died due to Covid-19 countrywide on Sunday.

A respite from this welter of bad news is unlikely until there virus abates by itself in the peak states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat or a vaccine appears miraculously on the horizon, trials for which the health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday may begin in three to five months.


In the South, the summer temperatures are at peak, upwards of 44 degrees C, but there’s no sign that Harsh Vardhan’s prognosis back in February that the virus would be roasted by India’s searing summer is coming true.

However, there are indications that the central government are finally tiring of pointing out the Tablighi Jamaat’s role in superspreading the contagion in India. Yesterday, in video interaction with BJP spokesman G V L Narasimha Rao, Harsh Vardhan said indeed there was a spike in infections due to the ‘Nizamuddin Markaz incident’ but it was a lesson to all communities not just Tablighi Jamaat.

At the same time, he said there was no point talking about it now as strict contact tracing of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation participants has been done and those who contracted coronavirus have been treated.

Asked whether the Tablighi Jamaat incident was a take-off point for the epidemic, Vardhan said, "We feel bad raising the issue, but there is no doubt that around the second week of March when the coronavirus was spreading rapidly across the globe and the number of cases in India were very few, when this unfortunate and irresponsible incident happened."

"The country got a big jolt at that time when the cases increased suddenly and it resulted in the government deciding to take the drastic step of lockdown and other measures," he said.

"It was an unfortunate incident and is a lesson for all sections and communities in the country that when a country takes a collective decision everyone should follow it with discipline as it is in everyone's larger interest," Vardhan said.