Himanta Biswa Sarma. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Guwahati/Agartala, April 2 : Three Tablighi meeting attendees have tested positive for novel coronavirus in Assam, taking the total corona positive cases in the northeastern state to 16, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Thursday.

According to Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, one more positive case was found in Manipur on Thursday, taking the state's tally to two.

The total tally of positive cases in the northeastern region has now gone up to 19 -- 16 in Assam, two in Manipur and one in Mizoram.

"Three new cases were in Goalpara in Assam, of people who participated in Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz (in Delhi)," Sarma tweeted.

The Minister earlier said that the Centre has communicated to the state that 456 people from Assam had attended the Tablighi meet.

"Of the 456 people, 230 have been identified while 68 have not yet returned. Of the 230 people, swab samples of 196 are being tested," Sarma said.

Efforts are on to trace other unidentified persons attended the congregation. The minister said four persons from Assam, who attended the congregation but remained in Delhi, had also tested positive for nCoV.

Assam reported its first corona positive case on Tuesday when a 52-year-old man's swab sample tested positive. According to the health officials, all the 16 patients are aged between 19 and 70, and are now undergoing treatment in different medical colleges and hospitals in Assam.

According to the ministers and officials of northeastern states, over 500 people from several of these states, mostly from Assam, have either attended or were were in vicinity of the Tablighi congregation, forcing all seven states to launch an all-out search to identify and test these attendees.

The attendees' family members and the people they came in close contact are also being examined or sent to quarantine.

In Tripura, COVID-19 Nodal Officer Deep Debbarma told IANS that swab samples of 33 people comprising family members and those from Tripura who attended the meet or went to Nizamuddin, had tested negative.

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb tweeted that an attendee from Tripura must report immediately to the nearest government hospital or call the control room.

In Manipur, officials said that most of the 14 attendees and their family members have been identified and tested, with only one positive case.

Manipur Director General of Police L.M. Khaute also asked any attendee from the state or those who even stayed in vicinity of the meeting venue or passed near it should get themselves tested at the nearest government hospital, warning of legal action otherwise.

Chief Minister N.Biren Singh also appealed to the people of the state who had attended the congregation to come forward for COVID-19 test.

From Meghalaya, seven people attended the religious congregation, the Shillong Markaz informed police, saying they have not yet returned.

According to the Markaz, of these seven people, five are in Delhi and two in Lucknow.

In Nagaland, media reports said that some persons from Nagaland had either attended or were in the vicinity of the congregation venue in Delhi. The officials of Health and Family Welfare Department along with district administrations and police have begun the process of tracking them down. Official said that there is a possibility that they have not returned to the state yet.

Earlier last month, a 23-year-old student who returned to Manipur from the United Kingdom was found Covid-19 positive, "making her the first positive case for nCoV in the northeast".

She is in stable condition at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal. It was followed by a 50-year-old pastor from Mizoram, who had returned mid-March from the Netherlands. He is also in stable condition in Aizawl.

Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh are still free of novel coronavirus cases.

 Latest updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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