31st Covid-19 Briefing: Testing, Tracing and Treatment key in fighting COVID-19

Dharamshala: The Tibetan community in India and Nepal reported 160 new cases over the past week even as the local welfare and health authorities are resorting to all measures to contain the Wuhan originated virus that is raging across the country and worldwide.

Addressing the 31st COVID-19 briefing earlier today, Dr Tsamchoe said the highest number of cases were reported from Mundgod with 96 cases, followed by Bylakuppe with 35, 9 from Ladakh, 5 from Mainpat, 4 from Odisha, 4 in Dekyiling, 2 in Hunsur, with 1 each from Dharamsala, Miao, Kollegal totalling 158 in India and 2 in Nepal for COVID cases reported this week.

Of which the eldest is aged 85 and youngest at 8, with 147 males to 13 females, 108 revealed mild to moderate symptoms and 52 were asymptomatic. In some sad news, an 84-year-old male with diabetes from Mundgod passed away.

Overall, 943 active cases were reported, 22 deaths, 430 active cases and 491 people have recuperated from Covid-19.

Joint Secretary of Health Department, Tsering Youdon said ‘3Ts-Testing, tracing and treatment’ as experts have recommended is the key to combat the spread of the virus.

“To test, trace all of the contacts swiftly and transparency from patients regarding their contacts and thirdly, timely treatment will save lives. This advice must be borne in mind.”

She also warned against falling victim to rumour and fear-mongering in social media and advised visiting the official health website for accurate information.

Updating on the routine prevention and containment measures undertaken by the task force, Dr Tsamchoe apprised that a total of 1071 are in quarantine out of which 607 are at-home quarantine and 464 are at the CTA facilitated quarantine centre.

Regarding screening status, Dr Tsamchoe reported that the committee has conducted a health screening of around 1671 people in and around the Gangkyi area. Revealing most to be asymptomatic, a few people with high fever stabilized after a day or two.

SORIG immune boosters have been distributed at free of cost to the elderly, people with comorbidities, frontline workers, Tibetan communities based abroad totalling 20,806. This week, around 145 packages have been posted to US, Russia, Spain, South Africa and other countries with the reopening of postal system.

Mental health helpline contacted 95 people and addressed doubts about the credibility of tests that concerned many of them. Stigmatization of quarantine residents and COVID-patients is another concern observed which needs to be replaced with support and encouragement.

Data committee constituting of settlement emergency committee and Delek hospital here, in coordination with district COVID-centre, has tested 13,084 Tibetans returning from other states or suspected of infection. Department of Health compiled the data from branch hospitals of 32 settlements, excluding the individual retests.

Routine sanitizations are ongoing across settlements as per the Health Department’s directive by emergency committees, organizations and monasteries weekly, especially at the sites of outbreak and the vicinity.

Dr Tsamchoe repeated her guidance on precautionary practices based on the SORIG system. “All the guidance from western perspective and traditional system address diet and behaviour corrections.” She urged testing early for quick recovery and preventing spread highlighting individual responsibility.

Dr Tsundue explained that social distancing, using facemasks and washing hands frequently in daily habit could prevent many airborne diseases, citing Taiwan’s successful response.

Similarly, research on India’s death toll showed that elderly population’s (aged above 65) death rate is at 53% making up 8% of India’s population and youth at 47% suggesting that all age groups are vulnerable to the virus.

“Although the pandemic count in India has declined since September 17, second and third wave of infections in Europe and Korea after lifting restrictions must be a lesson and urged for continued precaution,” advised Dr Tsundue.