Dharamshala: There have been at least 113 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Tibetan community in India this week, according to the CTA Task Force on Wuhan originated COVID-19.
Dr Tsering Tsamchoe, Dr Tenzin Tsundue, and Mr Sonam, Disease Prevention Programme Coordinator, the Department of Health addressed the routine task force briefing on the COVID-19 status in Tibetan community on Thursday in which they updated the latest status and the necessary details.
According to their briefing, of the 113 Tibetans who have tested positive: 4 are from Bylakuppe, 1 from Bangalore, 31 from Mundgod, 60 from Ladakh, 3 from Bandara, 1 from Tsopema in Mandi, 11 from Gangtok, and 2 from Delhi.
The 4 positive cases in Bylakuppe are mostly asymptomatic and are observing home quarantine and some are receiving provisions of the Health Department at the COVID-care facility. 1 positive in Bangalore is a 33-year-old male, who has mild symptoms and is currently under home quarantine. Of the 31 in Mundgod, mainly concerns 2 females and 1 male who are receiving provisions of SORIG boosters at the CTA COVID-Care centre and monastery’s quarantine facility.
In Ladakh, the recent outbreak at the Old age home and people who came into their contact and other residents are being treated at the TCV Ladakh and COVID-care centre with SORIG provisions.
Of the 3 in Bandara, 2 are asymptomatic and are admitted at the community quarantine centre while 1 is being treated at the district’s COVID-centre. The 1 COVID patient in Tsopema had travel history and is receiving treatment at the district COVID-care centre.
11 in Gangtok consist of 2 families who contracted the virus through vegetable vendors and they are currently in home quarantine. In Delhi, the 2 COVID patients are from Majnu-ka-Tila. They are in-home quarantine and are receiving SORIG immune boosters.
Of the 113, 1 has been reported to be critically ill and admitted in the ICU while 8 have shown mild symptoms and the rest have no visible symptoms. In sad news, an 83-year-old female from Mundgod passed away who had heart disease.
As of Thursday evening, the total case now stands at 260 in both India and Nepal with 152 active cases, 6 deaths and 102 recoveries.
Reviewing the routine prevention and containment measures undertaken by the CTA, Dr Tsamchoe gave the weekly quarantine status and initiatives taken by the relevant committees across Tibetan settlements.
In Dharamsala, she reported that 669 people are in the quarantine of which 283 are at home quarantine and 386 at the CTA facilitated quarantine centre and 40 are in quarantine. Regarding the screening status, around 2585 in Gangkyi region have been screened and 7292 from the Tibetan settlements across India and Nepal.
Dr Tsamchoe further added that all the COVID patients are receiving care from both Western and Tibetan systems of medicine and the Health Department is in constant contact with them and are providing tele-counselling services through the Mental Health section.
In light of the urgent pandemic situation, she highlighted the importance of extending aid to the welfare of the community through any way one can and turn the difficult circumstances into an opportunity for the better.
She urged people to act responsibly if one detects COVID-symptoms by isolating immediately and getting tested and further advised vulnerable groups such as those with chronic illness, obesity and those elderly to be more cautious and recommended reciting Dolma prayers to reduce stress.
Mr Sonam, Disease Prevention Programme Coordinator briefed on the necessity of COVID-19 testing and shared a few important guidances.
“Getting tested is critical as it will determine COVID-infection and ensure timely treatment and the possibility of a speedy recovery, furthermore it aids contract tracing, imposing quarantine and further testing,” he said.
As for the status of testing in Dharamshala, he said, since May beginning, 315 Tibetans have been tested through the provisions of the local government hospitals. More than 180 vulnerable groups from emergency volunteers, sanitation workers and drivers, nurses, etc were tested.
“McLeod residents Mr Thinley Jampa and Pintu Sharma have taken the lead in the testing initiative and procuring aid. Delek hospital underwent the necessary training provided by the state’s CMO to conduct the COVID tests which the hospital has been overseeing since July, testing 220 people.”
To people struggling emotionally or dealing with drug addiction, he urged them to contact the Health department through the local settlement officer and the director of the branch hospital and shared the Health department’s website: tibetanhealth.org for more information.
Dr Tsundue shared that as cases continue to rapidly rise in the country, hospitals are directing those without visible symptoms to self-quarantine at home as was observed in Delhi, Ladakh, Karnataka. Similarly, in Himachal Pradesh, the state has issued new guidelines stating the same.
“Tibetan settlements situated in these high-risk regions must observe utmost precaution and avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary,” he said.
As a number of Tibetans have been observed to be visiting Old Age Homes, Dr Tsundue appealed the public to not visit Old age homes for the time being for the safety of the residents.
He then highlighted the main precautions to follow: 1) returnees to follow 14 days quarantine and then home quarantine, 2) 2-metre physical distance and avoiding gathering, 3) wearing facemasks, 4) washing hands frequently, and 5) avoid unessential travel.