Amritsar: 98 Sikh devotees who returned from Gurdwara Hazur Sahib in Maharashtra’s Nanded to Punjab have tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-19.
Around 300 Sikh pilgrims from Punjab had recently visited the Hazur Sahib shrine in Nanded and then returned to their homes. Upon their arrival, all of them were tested for COVID-19 and out of them, 98 have been found COVID-19 positive.
Om Parkash Soni, Punjab Medical Education & Research Minister, had earlier told news agency ANI, "We did not imagine that such a large number of people will test positive for COVID-19.. We are requesting people to not worry and stay at home. We have to fight COVID-19 and we will win this battle."
However, unconfirmed reports said that over 100 Sikh pilgrims have tested positive for COVID-19.
The Sikh pilgrims were stranded at the Gurdwara Hazur Sahib in Maharashtra's Nanded amid the nationwide coronavirus lockdown. They started returning to Punjab from April 22 but the order to quarantine them came five days later.
Over 3,500 have returned to Punjab after the Union Home Ministry gave them permission.
Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, who is under attack from the opposition Akali Dal for negligence in not ensuring proper quarantining of the pilgrims, has blamed the Maharashtra government where his party Congress is part of the ruling Shiv Sena-led coalition.
The Akali Dal has demanded the health minister's resignation, accusing him of not putting up guidelines for testing the pilgrims on their arrival in Punjab.