84th Covid Briefing: Situation Getting Better but Caution Still Necessary

Covid Taskforce addressing the 84th briefing

Dharamshala: The 84th weekly Covid briefing was conducted by Amchi Tsering Tsamchoe from the Central Taskforce Committee and Dr Tenzin Namdol from Tibetan Delek Hospital yesterday, 4 November.

In her briefing, Amchi Tsering Tsamchoe updated the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic and the vaccination status of the Tibetan community in India and Nepal. She explained that 461 Tibetans were tested for the Coronavirus in India and Nepal in the past one week, out of which 33 tested positive for the virus. Of the 33, 25 were males while 8 were females. The oldest to test positive in the past one week was 86 years old while the youngest was 2 years old. She stated that till now, 6769 Tibetans tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began. From the 6769, 6579 have recovered while 155 passed away from the virus, she said.

Updating the vaccination status of the Tibetan community, she said that 44,534 Tibetans are fully vaccinated while 6772 were partially vaccinated in India till now. Overall, 86.3% of Tibetans above the age of 18 in India are partially or fully vaccinated against the virus. In Nepal, she said 6,980 Tibetans are fully vaccinated while 48 Tibetans are partially vaccinated. At least 86.3 % of Tibetans above the age of 18 in Nepal are partially or fully vaccinated, she announced.

She further said that a total of 52,974 units of Sorig immune boosters were distributed till now. From the 52,974, over 19,000 units were distributed to those who were quarantined. Describing the status of Tibetans in quarantine at the moment, she said that a total of 205 people are in quarantine with 60 in home quarantine, and 145 in institutional quarantine.

She further said that the Counselling section of the health department offered counselling services to one person who tested positive in the past week. She informed that the highest number of positive cases in the Tibetan community occurred during the heat of the second wave of the pandemic in May 2021. “Over 1695 Tibetans tested positive in May 2021 and another 1630 people tested positive in August this year. Compared to that period, the situation is slowly getting better now,” she explained.

Dr Tenzin Namdol from Tibetan Delek Hospital, in her briefing, gave a brief update on the Covid situation in India and said that the situation is getting better although it’s not completely covid-free at the moment. Most of the new infections are reported from the southern state of Kerala, she informed.

She also emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated to stay protected from the virus and gave the example of Russia where there is a surge in new infections due to a large number of people not getting vaccinated due to misinformation.

She further urged the public to maintain Covid safety protocols such as washing hands, wearing masks, maintaining physical distances, ensuring proper air circulation in rooms, to prevent getting infected and also curbing the spread of the virus.

As the season for winter sweater business has started and many Tibetans might travel to bigger Indian cities, she advised them to be alert and remain doubly cautious about infection wearing double masks, eating healthy foods, staying hydrated, getting hands sanitised, etc. If anyone exhibits or develops Covid symptoms, visit the hospital immediately for everybody’s safety, she said.

She also gave a brief update on the subject post-covid syndrome also known as Long Covid which is a term used to describe signs and symptoms that last for longer than four weeks after getting Covid.

“As almost everyone is aware, Covid mainly affects the lungs of a person. However, recent research has suggested that it also affects the brain, nerves, heart, and stomach. The chances of it happening are more prominent among the elderly or those with weak immune systems. People with chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and even heavy smokers and drinkers are also at risk,” she explained.

She described the symptoms of long covid as fatigue, dry coughs, shortness of breath, joint and chest pains, sleep problems ever after four weeks of testing positive. She also urged the public to maintain proper diets, stay hydrated by drinking at least 1-2 litres of water per day, and refrain from drinking or smoking excessively.

COVID-19 case details in Tibetan communities of India, Nepal and Bhutan