CTA’s Covid-19 taskforce cautions against increased risk of infection amidst festive season

Dr Tsamchoe updates the weekly Covid-status of the exile Tibetan community and shares relevant guidance. Screengrab image

Dharamshala: Addressing the 39th Covid-19 taskforce briefing, Dr Tsamchoe updated the COVID- status of the exile Tibetan community and reported 13 new cases this week, with 7 from India of which 1 each are from Shimla and Dharamshala, 3 from Bylakuppe, 2 from Ladakh, and 3 each is from Tashi Pelkyil and Kathmandu in Nepal. The oldest patient among them is 58 while the youngest is 7, and genderwise division- 8 males and 5 females. According to symptoms wise,7 are symptomatic and 6 asymptomatic while two people passed away this week of the infection. A 74-year-old from Ladakh and a 55-year-old from Shimla with comorbidities passed away, bringing the total pandemic count to 1434 cases, 1307 recoveries, 37 deaths, and 90 active cases.

The global pandemic tally has reached 76 million, with India crossing 10 million, despite the decline in active cases in India, the number of daily infections recorded on Thursday is 24,712, she added.

Reviewing CTA’s COVID response, Dr Tsamchoe reported that the quarantine status of settlement population from India and Nepal are at 384, with 113 in home quarantine, and 251 in community quarantine centres. SORIG distribution has reached 22,809 units covering the vulnerable, the elderly, chronic patients, including residents in the US and Swiss this week as a new strain of the virus was reported. Mental health committee provided counseling to 8 people who tested positive this week. Mass testing drive across 16 settlements covered 872 Tibetans. Routine sanitization and covid- committee meetings are ongoing in accordance with the local government’s directives.

Dr Tsamchoe clarified the WHO statement on the new variant of COVID-19, and explained that the disease is mutating constantly, and cautioned about its faster rate of infection at 70% which scientists have determined. She added that the ICMR has issued guideline to the effect of flight bans since the past 24 hours from the countries which reported the new strain of the coronavirus. She observed that during the holiday season, cases are expected to increase, hence the Karnataka and Maharashtra governments have issued curfew timing between 11pm-6am which must be followed strictly. She asserted that vaccines will develop in accordance with the modifications of the virus and reassured that COVID-19 has existed in previous forms which should allay fears that the disease is completely new and impossible to beat.

She explained that due to its spike protein form, it is highly transmissible, and children and youngsters are at a higher risk of infection. However, other factors like the severity of symptoms and mortality risks are still under study, with scientists studying its antibody reaction, and stated that as the symptoms are the same, the COVID-precaution measures are therefore valid.

She concluded with a public appeal for caution amidst the festive season which leads to social gatherings, posing a risk of outbreak.

Dr Tsundue similarly explained that the COVID-19 virus is updating itself every 2 weeks, yet the severity of infection or mortality risk has not shown any difference. India has issued new guideline for flights that pass UK on their route, requiring those passengers to undergo RTPC test at the airport facility established by the government, and the creation of a separate quarantine centre for those who test positive which involves 14 days quarantine-stay before the end of which they will undergo the test. While, those who test negative will be allowed to stay in home-quarantine requiring 28 days of monitoring for symptoms which will be supervised by District Surveillance Officer.

Those who arrived in November from the UK and have not undergone the test, must be on guard for appearance of any symptoms and wait to undergo the tests which will be conducted in line with the government’s guidelines, he concluded.

Dr Tsundue issues public appeals and shares relevant guidance. Screengrab image