The Isha Yoga Centre in Coimbatore has put out a press release on Wednesday stating that there are no positive cases of coronavirus reported from among their participants. This clarification comes following Health Secretary Beela Rajesh's announcement that all events or mass gatherings that were conducted after February 15 are under the scanner, which includes Isha Yoga Centre's Mahashivratri celebrations.
Thousands of people had gathered at the Isha Yoga Centre on February 25 to participate in the night-long celebrations for Mahashivaratri. It was conducted by the leader of the Isha Foundation, Jaggi Vasudev, with over 10 million watching the live streaming of the event on Youtube.
"The Yoga Center which receives several international visitors moved swiftly to put directives in place even before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and much before the central and state governments announced lockdowns and imposed travel bans," says the Isha Yoga Centre.
"Isha requested visitors from China, Japan, Singapore and other COVID19 affected countries, not to travel to the Yoga Center as a precautionary measure both for travellers as well as the larger community. Even people who had been to the COVID-19 affected countries including transits and airport layovers, were requested not to visit the Yoga Center," the statement also said.
It further claimed to be following mandatory screening and physical distancing protocols since.
"Other foreign nationals who visited the centre were requested to observe a mandatory 28-day quarantine period. Residents and volunteers who are used to Ishaâ€™s rigorous adherence to health and hygiene protocols even in normal times, are now undergoing mandatory screening every two days. The protocols also apply to security, housekeeping and other ground staff who reside at the Yoga Center. Hand sanitizers have been made available at several locations on the premises," the centre has clarified.
State health officials have reportedly been visiting the Yoga Centre to conduct screenings and checks since February have found no COVID-19 positive cases.
"Recently, Isha offered its premises to the state government to help contain the spread, should the outbreak accelerate," the centre revealed.
The alarm over large gatherings of people from different parts of Tamil Nadu increased after it was found that over 50 people who attended an event in New Delhi from the state were found to be positive for the coronavirus.
The Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic revivalist organisation that focuses on reviving the faith of Muslims in the religion, held a meeting in Delhi from March 8 to 21. It was attended by hundreds of Indians and foreign nationals. Following the meeting, the Indian participants returned to their respective home states â€“ along with a handful of foreign preachers. Out of 1,500 who attended the event from Tamil Nadu, 1,113 returned to state via flights and trains.
While 515 people have been traced in this group, the Health Department is still trying to contact and screen others.