16th CTA Task Force Briefing: 2 new cases this week, total 14 active cases and 46 recoveries

Dharamshala: At the 16th taskforce briefing, updates on the pandemic status in the Tibetan community, COVID-19 precautionary measures taken by CTA, and the health guidance and clarifications were provided from Sorig and Western medical traditions by Dr Tsering Tsamchoe and Dr Namdon.

Additional Secretary of Health Department, Jampa Phuntsok shared that the establishment of quarantine centres across settlements in India, Nepal, Bhutan has been effective in containing the transmission risk of the pandemic by testing 99% of the cases at the facilities.

He appealed to the public to be ever vigilant in following precautions and guidelines as issued by the settlement officer and medical officers and emphasised community responsibility amidst relaxation of lockdown across the country. He commended the efforts of Delek hospital and the facilitation provided by the centre, state and district governments.

Dr Tsamchoe briefed on the pandemic status in the Tibetan community, sharing that of the 36 statements, 2 cases had been reported this week in Mundgod: a 22-year-old and 21-year-old female, both asymptomatic, and receiving treatment at the Taluk hospital in Mundgod, taking the total number of cases to 62 across India, Nepal and Bhutan: 2 deaths, 46 recoveries, 14 active cases. Settlement emergency committee and branch hospitals have been providing the necessary guidance.

No new updates reported from Representatives of Offices of Tibet abroad.

Total of 673 Tibetans are under quarantine across 34 facilities in India and 4 in Nepal. Of those 381 are in CTA community quarantine centres and 292 are in-home quarantine, and 108 of them are within Dharamshala.

The COVID-19 monitoring committee has tested as of this week 7593 people from healthcare workers and vulnerable groups, covering 35 settlements in India and 1 in Nepal, through the efforts of Sorig and Western tradition doctors, nurses and staff; 5880 people above age 60; 1703 chronic patients; 1774 from Gangkyi region and Dharamsala scattered settlement which is the seat of the exile administration and many important institutions like the CTA, Men Tsee Khang, LTWA staff, religious institutes, and Tibetan schools are situated with members of the organisations taking the initiative.

SORIG immune boosters are being distributed to the public with successful results, 1334 asymptomatic patients in quarantine, 9436 elderlies from the age group of 65 and above across Nepal and India, and 530 people from the vulnerable elderlies of above age 65, healthcare workers and frontline volunteers, similarly 464 people in India, 457 chronic patients, covering 12, 231 in total benefitted from the free SORIG provisions.

The mental health committee has covered 508 quarantine patients across 29 settlements, by the 8 appointed counsellors, who have volunteered to provide tele-counselling services and similarly, the positive individuals are contacted and provided guidance accordingly.

This week, Delek hospital began swab testing programme, facilitated by the District health centre which is providing swab sample kits.

Dr Tsamchoe advised the development of physiological immunity in the present circumstance where no cure is yet and suggested healthy dietary habits, adequate sleep, caring for mental health, travel restriction, lighting incense and importantly, consumption of hot water and Sorig herbal tea to make the body inhospitable to the virus.

Dr Namdon clarified that due to the novelty of the virus, studies are still ongoing as to how the transmission occurs. While droplet transmitted was confirmed earlier, according to WHO, the virus is found to be airborne.

She explained that minute droplets survive in the air which means it has a wider reach and she highlighted wearing of facemasks as the best measure and follow public gathering restrictions at public venues like cinema halls, gyms, etc maintaining air circulation throughout.

She further advised that quarantine patients follow the advised norms and 14 days period where not possible, to stay in home isolation and not attend public gatherings. Clarifying to those who complain about untimely testing, she explained that testing provisions prioritised govt health centres, hence it results in lengthier wait period, and Delek hospital staff are authorised to collect the swab samples but not to diagnose which is only conducted at the district centre.

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