Dharamshala: The weekly COVID-19 press briefing updating the situation among Tibetans in India, Nepal and Bhutan was held yesterday. Presided over by Sikyong and joined by Education Kalon, Home Secretary. Education Kalon briefed about the undertakings of the department and initiatives for higher education, 10th and 12th standard boarding exams, the syllabus decided for primary to high school students to be guided on Tibet TV. Home Secretary similarly, updated on the various undertakings of the department concerning the settlements, the provision of aid to the destitute and the elderly, initiatives in Nepal.
Sikyong updated on the pandemic toll within the Tibetan community, a 62-year-old man in US state Colorado had succumbed to the disease, however, a couple in Belgium has recovered. He reemphasised the need for Tibetans to stay in at home during the peak months of May and June. In Delhi, a nurse has been reported to have contracted and subsequently recovered from the virus. A family from the Northeast who had sought medical treatment, have had different results on three separate tests. On the first test, the individual tested negative, while testing positive after 2 days of hospitalisation, yet on the third test, the result came back negative. The individual has also shown no symptoms of the virus. As of now, the result is indeterminate. Sikyong reasserted that due to the lack of a vaccine for the virus, quarantine is the only preventive measure which ensures the safety of our family, friends and the community. He urged stranded Tibetans returning home to give advance notice prior to 3 days before arrival so that due process of notifying the District official can be followed, and for coordination between the Settlement office and Health department to make necessary arrangements. He also cautioned stranded Tibetans to stay in one place, as the Indian government has made it mandatory for returnees from red zones to quarantine in hospices, with dorms sheltering 50-60 people. He shared about the provision of Sorig medicines to boost immunity as per the guidance of veteran Dr Tsewang Tamdin and distribute it to 10,000 beneficiaries in India to vulnerable groups, like the elderly(above 65) with chronic illnesses and frontline workers, requesting Tibetan settlers to submit their names applying for the medicine and not gather at the settlement offices. He assured Tibetans residing abroad to await the reopening of the postal system to receive the Sorig medicine provisions with the aforementioned eligibility criteria, about 1000 packages ready for delivery.
The CTA has made available INR 3.3 crore for Wuhan COVID-19 programs benefitting Tibetan communities in India and Nepal. Sikyong added that as the border between Nepal and India has been closed till June 2, many stranded Tibetans from Nepal within Delhi have been provided accommodations till that time.
Education Kalon shared about the financial aid of 21 lakhs to 481 college and school students from destitute homes. Additionally, she spoke about the release of the timetable of the pending exams for 12th standard students. As per the directive received from the CBSE regarding the probability of holding exams in the respective district exam centres amidst the pandemic, a more detailed announcement will be issued in the first week of June, schools have been notified accordingly, Kalon stated. Stranded students were urged to contact their principals on the issue of choosing the exam centre. Online instructional content is available for students of primary school up to high school. Teachers comfortable with the virtual medium have been selected to give online instructions. Students are availing these learning materials increasingly as the view count indicates. Instructional material has been prepared for parents of primary school children. Workshop for headteachers is held weekly, on different topics ranging from parents and teachers’ responsibility, use of technology effectively to facilitate learning, etc.
Home Secretary spoke about the Home department’s undertakings for the elderly and the destitute and shared data of the beneficiaries of the financial aid. Funds of 163 lakhs have been disbursed to settlements in advance allowance to Tibetans across India, Nepal and Bhutan. Ration supplies to elderly singles, financially-weak households and provisions for stranded groups, job-migrants in the cities unemployed in the lockdown. Special provisions of 100 lakhs for daily wagers affected by the lockdown with 2000 Tibetans registered who received 5000 each after a verification process. Ration distribution to local Indian communities as an expression of solidarity and gratitude to the host community.