Even as officials from tamilnadu try to pull out all stops to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further across the state, the state police booked 10 Malaysian nationals, who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat conference in delhi, as they tried to flee india from chennai airport on Sunday. Reportedly a Batik airlines flight was scheduled to take off from chennai international airport on sunday taking around 167 Malaysian nationals stranded in the country back to their homeland. However, the police said that the men were arrested because they had not disclosed to the authorities that they were attendees of the Jamaat conference in delhi in the first week of March.
Meanwhile the group had reportedly arrived in india on a tourist visa and had attended the Tablighi Jamaat conference early in March. They had reached madurai by train on march 12 and had travelled to southern tamilnadu in the following days. The police have booked them under the National Disaster Management Act, Foreigners Act, indian Penal code and the Epidemic Diseases Act.
In tamilnadu alone, over 500 patients who have been tested positive for COVID-19 were either attendees in the conference or had some contact with those who had attended the conference. Around 1,200 people from the state are expected to have attended the conference in delhi and travelled back to their hometowns in Tamilnadu. The state health department has been tracing the attendees and placing them all in isolation at the hospitals or in their own houses as a precautionary measure. The government of tamilnadu had also requested those who travelled from delhi to chennai in two flights on march 24, in which many conference attendees had also travelled, to quarantine themselves at home for 28 days.