COVID-19 briefing by Sikyong and CTA Task Force: Urgent guidelines for those travelling via red zones

Dharamshala: CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay on 18th June 2020 issued stringent guidelines for Tibetans travelling from or via Delhi to settlements across India as the country witnessed a record single-day spike with 12,881 new cases and 334 deaths in the last 24 hours.

In light of the worsening situation, CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay urged Tibetans traveling from or via Delhi to the Tibetan settlements to strictly inform the concerned settlement officers one week ahead of their arrival so that the necessary arrangements can be appropriately made.

Furthermore, as per the guidelines, anyone travelling from or via Delhi to Tibetan settlements must inform the respective settlement officer a week ahead and provide full details of their address and time of arrival. 14-day quarantine and swab test is strictly mandatory for those arriving from or via red zones.

“I appeal to all the Tibetans to strictly follow the guidelines issued by the CTA, State and Central government and those travelling via red zone areas to the settlements must adhere to the quarantine guidelines and instructions issued by the concerned settlement officers and health authorities.”

He said that the CTA has left no stone unturned in its efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 within the community. More than 750 Tibetans with travel history have been tested so far. Thousands have been facilitated at community quarantine centres and are also provided SORIG immune boosters. Sanitizations are being carried out regularly in all Tibetan settlements.

With the rising number of returnees from various parts of India to Tibetan settlements and cluster communities, the CTA and its task force have further ramped up precautionary measures against COVID-19.

“Even before the outbreak in India, we have been regularly issuing guidelines to the Tibetan public to take utmost caution and observe the best precautionary practices. Especially those stranded in various cities were urged to remain stationed. We even provided emergency support fund to help the stranded Tibetans.”

He added, “On March 17, weeks before the nationwide lockdown, I had alerted the public to prepare for 2 to 3 weeks of the shutdown and to buy the required groceries. A week later, on March 25, India was officially shut down. Moreover, I had also warned that the shutdown would stay for a long haul.”

“As India was opening up, on 3 May, I had warned that the opening up could pose greater risk of community transmission and urged people to isolate more. I have also repeatedly appealed to the public to avoid travelling especially through red zones and if possible, remain stationed at their locations until the situation improved.”

In the absence of any cure to treat COVID-19, he said observing social distancing and the best precautionary practices are the most viable means to beat the viral infection.

The total number of active cases reported as of today is 9 with 12 cases of recovery and 2 deaths. Almost all the positive cases were all found to have travel history to Delhi or are residents of Delhi.

“Each of us has a part to play to break the cycle of infection. We must fight this together with a spirit of compassion and responsibility towards the community. In addition, I implore all to follow the guidelines issued by the CTA, State and Central government,” he said.

“We will definitely emerge stronger and united out of this if we simply followed the guidelines, observe the best practices and care for each other with empathy and compassion.”

Sikyong also announced that 1 lakh face masks would be distributed in Tibetan settlements through the funds gathered by Office of Tibet, Taiwan. He added that the distribution is an awareness drive to remind the people to continue to heed all instructions for physical distancing, hand-washing, and public-health measures.

He said the free mask distribution and the SORIG immune boosters are supplementary facilities arranged by the CTA under special circumstances and that the public must not demand these as their rights.

Sikyong’s briefing was followed by the routine Taskforce briefing led by Dr Tsering Tsamchoe and Dr Tenzin Tsundue.

Dr Tsundue updated the global COVID-19 toll which stands at 83,49,950 infected, 34,54, 807 recoveries and 4,16,201 deaths. The US: 21,63,290 infected, 5,92,191 recoveries; Canada: 1,01,491 infected, 63,280 recoveries; India: 3,66,946 infected, 1,94,325 recoveries, 12,237 deaths; Nepal: 7,177 infected, 1,167 recoveries, 20 deaths; Bhutan:67 infected, 25 recoveries, 0 deaths.

Within India, across states with significant Tibetan population, Karnataka: 7,734 infected, 2, 828, active cases, 4,804 recoveries, 102 deaths; 569 infected, 189 active cases, 372 recoveries, 8 deaths in Himachal Pradesh; 687 infected, 594 active cases, 92 recoveries, 1 death in Ladakh; 743 active cases, 1254 recoveries, 26 deaths in Uttarkhand; 1280 active cases, 3,047 recoveries, 11 deaths in Orissa; 92 active cases, 7 recoveries, 0 deaths, in Arunachal Pradesh; 66 active cases, 4 recoveries, 0 deaths in Sikkim; 27,741 active cases, 17,457 recoveries, 1,904 deaths in Delhi as per the current data.

COVID-19 status in exile Tibetan community: As per this week, 7 cases in Ladakh, a 58-year-old male, 28-year-old male, 23-year-old female, 20-year-old female, 55-year-old female, 23-year-old female, a 21-year-old female. Among them, the 20-year-old, 21-year-old and 23-year-old woman who contracted the virus this week are reported to have recovered as well. In Delhi, 3 Tibetans, a 78-year-old man, 34-year-old man, 29-year-old woman, of which the 78-year-old man passed away on June 10. From Doeguling settlement of Mundgod, a 30-year-old man has reported positive, bringing the total to 11 cases confirmed this week. So far, 24 people have been infected in the Tibetan community in India, with 13 recoveries, 2 deaths, 9 active cases.

The health department and Settlement officer, branch hospital nurses and doctors monitoring the situation have reported that there are no critical cases as of now.

Among Tibetans based abroad, no cases have been reported to the Representative, so the data remains the same as last published on the website.

Taskforce committee’s weekly progress of initiatives undertaken: Data monitoring committee updates a total of 1,109 people are in quarantine in 35 settlements, with 661 in-home quarantine and 448 in CTA arranged quarantine centres. In the Dharamsala region, of the CTA, arranged quarantine centres, 21 are in Shugseb, 54 in Neylenkhang, 7 in Sherab Gatsel Lobling and 18 in institutes like Sara, Men Tsee Khang and in-home quarantine, a total of 100 returnees are in quarantine centres.

SORIG immune boosters have been distributed to 874 people in quarantine centres in 22 settlements and among 3,409 elderly (65 years and above) in 23 settlements. After the government’s flight restriction lift, accordingly, 278 SORIG immune booster packages have been sent out to the 3 Representative Offices.