Dharamshala: In a briefing on the COVID status in Tibetan diaspora held today, Dr Tsering Tsamchoe said 168 new cases have been reported this week across India and Nepal (136 from India and 32 from Nepal).
In India: 91 cases are from Mundgod, 22 from Ladakh, 6 from Bylakuppe, 5 from Mainpat, 4 from Paonta; 1 from Dehradun, 2 from Delhi, 2 from Miao, 1 from Hunsur, 1 from Kollegal and 1 from Bangalore. 32 cases have been reported from Kathmandu and Pokhara in Nepal.
Of the total 168, 126 are male and 42 female, with the eldest aged 96 and youngest aged 5. So far, 703 cases have been reported in total in India and Nepal. Tragically an elderly man aged 83 from Mundgod passed away.
With the recovery count at 276, there have been 17 deaths and 410 active cases as of today.
Globally, the infected cases stand at 38 million, crossing 10 lakhs deaths. With India reporting 8 lakhs active cases at 11.42%, crossing 1 lakh deaths at 1.53%, and recovery rate at 87.5%, coming to 7 million cases in total.
In accordance with the new guidelines issued by the GOI, taking into account the seasonal flu and the upcoming festive season along with the reopening of theatres and parks under unlock 5, Dr Tsamchoe predicted that the onset of winter could potentially extend the pandemic duration and called for extra caution for those with respiratory illnesses and common colds.
She further stressed that both western and traditional systems of medicine must be integrated into the COVID treatment, responding to the concerns of elderlies refusing to consume allopathic medicines citing side effect worries.
Also, she highlighted the significance of ‘World Handwashing Day’ coinciding on October 15, and the health benefits of the simple practices to protect against COVID-19 and other diseases.
Dr Tsundue also chimed in and reiterated the benefits of both allopathic and traditional treatment for speedy recovery to health.
In addition, he also made an appeal for volunteers, especially, college students, to help in relief activities such as contact tracing over phone calls, inquiring about symptoms and maintaining a data list.
As for the weekly review of COVID preventive measures across Tibetan communities, testing, screening, quarantine, sanitization, counselling and SORIG immune booster distribution is being implemented in full force to benefit the needy.
SORIG immune boosters which are routinely distributed to the elderly, people with comorbidities and Tibetan community abroad, was this week distributed to Tibetan communities in Boston, Portland and Utah (a total of 159 units distributed).
Testing is widely conducted in settlements as per the guidelines of respective states and districts. In Dharamsala, 36 were tested as of this week reaching 791 testings conducted in total.
Contact tracing is actively carried out, and those who had come in contact with COVID patients are swiftly quarantined. Out of the total of 850 people in quarantine, 413 are in home quarantine and 437 in CTA organised community quarantine centres.
Passive screening across settlements was disrupted by the serious conditions that required full-time effort of healthcare workers. However, passive screening continued across Dharamsala covering 1945 people in the Gangkyi area.
This week, the Mental Health Section provided counselling guidance to 149 COVID patients and 100 quarantine residents over phone calls across 21 settlements.
Tsering Yangdol of Health Department said Mental health effects of the pandemic are experienced across age-groups in varying ways, manifested through insomnia, anxiety, aggression, frustration, which she said is a natural response to the COVID situation.
For those in quarantine, she advised reaching out to friends and family through phone calls or social media for support as well as creating routines. She urged people to seek help from the branch health centres or the Health Department.
She also advised parents to set schedules for children at home in order to equally distribute time for studies and play, and introspect on their emotional responses so to prevent negative impacts on children’s wellbeing in the COVID phase.