40th COVID-19 Task Force Briefing: Committee pledges renewed strength to fight the global pandemic

In photo Secretary Palden Dhondup, Dept of Health CTA, Dr Tsering Tsamchoe Central Council of Tibetan Medicine and Dr Tenzin Tsundue Delek hospital.

Dharamshala: A little less than a year after its establishment, the CTA’s COVID-19 Task Force Committee has done everything in their best capacity to fight the raging pandemic and its impacts on the Tibetan community all over the world.

Exactly a year ago the COVID-19 infection was first reported from Wuhan city of China and gradually, it spread to the rest of the world killing more than one million and adversely affecting the livelihood of millions.

As the battle against COVID is ongoing everywhere, the task force committee of CTA pledges its commitment to strengthening its fight against the pandemic in the coming new year, says Secretary Palden Dhondup of the Department of Health as he enumerates the activities and various projects undertaken by the committee in 2020.

“A total of 1448 Tibetans were infected out of which around 1400 recovered. This is only because of the hard work, cooperation, and dedicated service by the settlement officers and the staff and above all those working in the frontline,” adds Secretary Dhondup and urges the same support and cooperation throughout.

“Despite being a small community with limited resources, the Tibetan community has successfully mitigated the worst-case scenario of the coronavirus pandemic”, he adds and further advises the Tibetans to prioritize precaution and safety measures at all times.

Dr Tsering Tsamchoe updated the COVID status of the exile Tibetan community and reported that 14 new cases this week, with 1 from Mainpat, 4 from Ladakh, 1 from Ravangla, and 8 from Dekyiling. The oldest patient among them is 76 while the youngest is 1 and a half years old. According to symptoms wise, 7 are symptomatic and 7 are asymptomatic. The total cases in the Tibetan community across India and Nepal currently stand at 1448 out of which 1381 have recovered, 37 died, and 30 active cases.

Those active cases are strictly quarantined and required facilities and treatment are provided.

Reviewing CTA’s COVID response, Dr Tsamchoe reported that the quarantine status of settlement population from India and Nepal are at 257 out of which 140 are at home quarantine and 117 at the administration facilitated community quarantine centers.

SORIG distribution has reached 23462 units covering the vulnerable, the elderly, chronic patients, including residents overseas. The breakdown of the distribution- 5573 at quarantine, 8725 people above 64 yrs, 1481 volunteers and health workers, 4040 with comorbidities, 3643 Tibetans overseas. As for mental health counseling this week, no session was held but Dr Tsamchoe said the helpline is available all the time.

Mass testing drive across 16 settlements covered 594 Tibetans this week. Routine sanitisation and disinfection are ongoing.

“Since its emergence, the global pandemic tally has crossed over 80 million with India crossing over 10 million. The year 2020 tested humanity and was a remarkably difficult year of hard learning which brought an unprecedented change in everyone’s lives,” said Dr Tsamchoe and urged to do better despite the present challenges.

Dr Tenzin Tsundue reported that COVID cases in India are gradually decreasing as lesser cases are being reported from various states in India.

Reporting on the new strain of the virus in the UK, Dr Tsuendue said that ever since its emergence, UK records its highest number of new cases as last Tuesday, 53135 cases were reported. On a good note, he informed the permit to use the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK. The vaccine will be rolled out in the country from Monday.

In India, 25 individuals with a travel history to the UK have been tested positive for the new strain of coronavirus.

As Dharamshala witness the influx of tourists to celebrate the new year, Dr Tsundue appeals to the public to stay away from the crowd and gathering and meanwhile adhering to the night curfew imposed by the DC office Kangra.

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