49th COVID-19 briefing calls to toughen Covid measures as cases spike in the Tibetan community

Dharamshala: Addressing the 49th COVID-19 taskforce briefing, Dr. Tsamchoe updated the pandemic status of the exile Tibetan community, reporting 61 new cases this week raising concern over a surge in the cases once again.

The cases reported this week are from the region-wise: 55 from Dharamshala, 1 from Bylakuppe, 2 from Bhandara,1 from Mainpat, 1 from Mundgod, and 1 from Rajpur. The oldest among them is 86 yr old and the youngest is 15 yr old. However, no death reported this week which brings the total number of cases in the Tibetan community across and India to 1601, out of which, 1485 have recovered, 75 active cases, and 41 deaths.

In the last few days, Covid cases in the Tibetan community particularly in Dharamshala reported a spike in the number due to which an emergency response committee meeting was held chaired by Health Kalon Choekyong Wangchuk to review the measures needed to tackle the rising cases. Likewise, the public is appealed to abide by the norms and regulations prescribed by the administration and the local authority.

Dr Tsundue addressed the concern of rising cases in institutions like schools and monasteries after the outbreak in Gyuto Monastery last week.

Dr Tsundue outlined 5 key points necessary to tackle the challenge posed by the pandemic. Firstly, he recommends strict masking in order to curb the spread of the virus. Secondly, those in the schools and monastic institutions are advised to hold their teachings and gatherings outdoor provided that the safe distance is maintained. Thirdly, the employees working at the dining facilities of the institutes are strictly advised to wear face coverings and face masks. Fourth, outsiders entering the premises of the institutes are required to quarantine first before engaging with the others, and finally, to avoid the risk of spreading the virus, individuals need to check with the doctor even in the cases of mild cold and other symptoms.

To those seeking to get the second jab, Dr Tsundue refers carefully reviewing the eligibility form first before getting the shot.

Health staff Ngawang Tenzin made a public appeal calling for strict adherence to precautions and guidelines during the upcoming Tibetan Uprising Day in case a public gathering is held.

As for the quarantine status, Dr Tsering Tsamchoe said 594 Tibetans are in quarantine out of which 202 are home quarantined and 392 at the institutional quarantine. The rise in the number of quarantines is largely due to the reopening of schools starting 1 March.

Sorig immune boosters have been distributed to a total of 26934 till now. The mental health committee provided tele-counselling services to 5 covid patients this week.

Mass COVID-testing drive covered 1805 Tibetans in India.

As per the response committee’s data, a total of 413 Tibetans including health care workers have received the vaccine so far. As India commenced the second jab of vaccine drive on 1 March for senior citizens above 60 yrs and, and people with co-morbidities above 45 years, around 248 Tibetans senior citizens have opted for the shot.