65th Covid-19 Task Force Briefing by Deputy Secretary Tenzin Kunsang, Dr Tenzin Tsundue and Dr Tsering Tsamchoe. Photo Screengrab

Dharamshala: Even though India is in the midst of recovering from the severity of the second wave, the country is already facing the dread of a possible third wave, however, Deputy Secretary Tenzin Kunsang of the Health Department assured that preparations have begun in the Tibetan community to tackle the third wave which according to studies is predicted to be much more lethal.

Under the guidance of the CTA Health Department, the Tibetan Nurses Association NYNJ and the Tibetan Association of Northern California Health Committee has organised Covid-19 medical mission to India to help the Tibetan community recover from the pandemic.

12 healthcare workers including 7 frontline health care workers from the US and 5 across India have volunteered to assist and provide their services as the Tibetan community prepares to fight against the upcoming wave.

The mission is funded by the Tibetan Nurses Association, Tibetan Association of Northern California, Tibet Fund and Arizona Friends of Tibet.

As per the requirement, the volunteer nurses have been deployed to various schools and settlements scattered across India, including Sarah College, TCV Gopalpur, TCV Upper, Mentsee Khang and Dekyiling Tibetan settlement.

Tibetan volunteer nurses with Secretary Palden Dhondup, Department of Health, CTA.

“We cannot thank enough the invaluable dedication and sacrifices of these frontline heroes”, asserted Deputy Secretary of Health Dept.

She further assured that the Task Force had held several meetings with the settlement officers, schools heads and heads of the monasteries to chalk out strategies to prevent possible third wave if it was to approach sooner than expected.

As for the weekly Covid-status of the Tibetan community, Dr Tsering Tsamchoe updated that the mass testing drive this week covered 1644 Tibetans in India and Nepal. Of those tested individuals, Dr Tsamchoe reported 133 fresh cases and 5 deaths.

With this, the total number of reported cases of the exile Tibetan community is 5084, 4530 recoveries,131 deaths, and 423 active cases.

Meanwhile, inoculation drive in the Tibetan community gradually progresses as around 14596 Tibetans i.e 26.76% of the Tibetan population in India is fully vaccinated while around 25854 Tibetans i.e 47.40% of the population receiving at least one Covid-19 shot bringing the vaccination tally of Tibetans in India to 73% of the total population.

Deputy Secretary Kunsang commended the near successful inoculation of the first dose in the Tibetan community with 70% of the Tibetan population inoculated with at least one shot and meanwhile credited this achievement to the philanthropic contributions of individuals, organisations and monasteries who massively contributed and funded the resources.

Similarly in Nepal, 432 Tibetans have been fully vaccinated while 1327 have received at least one shot bringing the total vaccination tally to 17% of the total population.

Tibetan volunteer nurses with Secretary Palden Dhondup, Department of Health, CTA.

Recently, a few cases of the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus were detected in few states in India which has been labelled as a ‘variant of concern’ by experts.

Addressing this worrying concern around the new variant, Dr Tsundue explained that the new Delta Plus variant is quite similar to the variant responsible for the deadly second wave such that this new variant of novel coronavirus will have increased transmissibility.

“The only way to decelerate the spread of this new variant is to get oneself tested after the appearance of first symptoms even if it’s mild”.

As many parts of India begin to impose lockdown relaxation, the public is advised to continue to practice appropriate safety measures and mindful conducts for the greater good and meanwhile more people especially adult individuals were urged to participate in the ongoing mass inoculation drive so as to secure herd immunity against the covid.

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