Congress leader and Maharashtra PWD Minister Ashok Chavan on Saturday speculated that the drivers who had ferried pilgrims from a Gurudwara in Maharashtra's Nanded to Punjab might have spread the COVID-19 infection among them. During a Facebook live session, he said that the drivers from Punjab, who came to Nanded and took the pilgrims back, might have got infected during their journey.
He further added that they might have also carried the infection to the gurdwara in Nanded and also among the pilgrims during the return journey. According to Chavan, a total of 78 buses with two drivers each had reached Nanded on April 26 where they stayed for two days and had food in the Langar. He stated that there is a possibility that the infection spread there.
On Saturday, 20 persons residing in Gurdwara Langar Sahib at Nanded in Maharashtra have tested positive for Coronavirus. According to reports, earlier, swabs of around 97 people residing in the gurdwara had been collected for testing. Meanwhile, according to government figures, at least 115out of the 3,000 pilgrims who have returned from the Hazur Sahib shrine in Maharashtra recently have been tested COVID-19 positive.
Speaking about the origin of the infection in Nanded, the Maharashtra PWD Minister said that none of the pilgrims had complained about Coronavirus symptoms during their stay at the Gurudwara. According to him, had any complaint been made, they would have provided treatment immediately. Further, according to the Nanded authorities, the pilgrims have picked up the infection during their travel back to Punjab.
Meanwhile, with several pilgrims returning from Nanded testing positive for COVID-19, Akal Takht Jathedar Harpreet Singh on Friday claimed that there was a conspiracy to malign the Sikhs over it, just as the Muslims were after the Tablighi Jamaat episode. He added, "There was a race to malign the entire Muslim community over the Tablighi Jamaat episode and the same kind of propaganda is being carried out now.”
According to the latest update from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the number of total Coronavirus cases in the country has climbed to 37,776, including 26,535 active cases. While 1,223 deaths have been reported overall, around 10,018 people have been cured/discharged/migrated. Meanwhile, Maharashtra and Delhi have the highest number of cases in the country.
(With PTI Inputs)