Dharamshala: Dr. Tsering Tsamchoe and Dr. Tenzin Namdon briefed the weekly CTA Task Force conference on COVID-19 and talked on the status of active cases worldwide and particularly in the Tibetan community and the response measures being taken.
Dr Namdon of Delek Hospital updated on the global COVID-19 tolls which stands at 65,14,359 infected, 3,86,111 deaths and 28,17,873 recoveries as of Thursday, 4 June 2020. US is the most affected with 18,51,520 infected and 1,00,175 deaths; Brazil trails with 5,84,016 infected and 32,548 deaths; followed by Russia’s 4,31,715 infected and 5,376 deaths; 2,81,270 infected and 39,811 deaths in UK; 2,40,329 infected and 27,128 deaths in Spain, altogether constitute the top 5 countries with highest COVID-19 cases.
Across India, 2,17,541 are infected, 6,091 deaths and 1,04,106 recoveries. Maharashtra has the highest toll among states with 74,860 cases, followed by Tamil Nadu with 25,872 cases, 23,645 cases in Delhi and 18,100 cases in Gujarat, according to Dr Namdon.
Dr Tsering Tsamchoe briefed on the pandemic toll across Tibetan settlements in India, Nepal and Bhutan.
In India, 4,2,42,718 people under ICMR guidelines have been tested for COVID-19 symptoms. In the past 24 hours, 1,39,485 have been tested in India. COVID-19 test centres numbering about 710 exist that operate under ICMR’s guidelines. Nepal has total 2300 infected, 278 recoveries, 9 deaths, and 8267 people have been tested, with no reported cases from the Tibetan community. Bhutan has a total of 47 infected, 9 recoveries and 0 deaths, so far no reported case from Tibetans.
In Tibetan community in India, a 62-year-old man from Delhi, a 63-year-old woman from Dalhousie and a 12-year-old student from Tuting have reportedly tested positive for the virus. The man from Delhi has passed away this week, while the other 2 have shown no symptoms so far and are in good condition as told by Delhi’s Representative. This week, no case has been reported from the Tibetan community-based in the US, so the previous week’s data available on the website, i.e., 213 infected, 8 deaths, 165 recoveries as received from the OOT in Washington DC.
Thirdly, led by the Health Department, the task force committee’s various initiatives carried out and future plans are as follows.
As precaution is the best solution for prevention of COVID-19 currently, amidst the lockdown lift and travel resumption, many returnees are arriving from red zones of Delhi and Maharashtra, who are directed to check in the CTA arranged quarantine facilities, 29 settlements in India and 2 in Nepal, of a total of 1134 people, 651 in home quarantine, 484 in CTA arranged quarantine facilities as data received from settlements.
In Dharamsala, there are 84 Tibetans at the 3 quarantine centres, as the mandated quarantine stay has changed from 28 days as directed by the Indian government initially to 14 and continues to change. State government’s like Karnataka require 7 days of quarantine and 14 for those arriving from red zones. Tibetan welfare offices are requested to notify of the guidelines issued by state and district governments.
Active surveillance of COVID-19 symptoms is ongoing at both the centre and the settlements, in the past 2 months, settlement nurses and directors of branch hospitals-led settlement’s health committee, all the residents are being monitored for symptoms and problems.
Gangkyi monitoring committee of Health department has covered CTA staff, dispersed settlements, nearby monasteries, Men Tsee Khang staff and a few settlements under the Settlement office numbering about 1751 in this week. Similarly, all 32 settlements in India and 5 in Nepal, a total of 36,335 have been monitored for COVID-19 symptoms. CTA has distributed Sorig immunity-boosting medicines to 601 Tibetans in quarantine across 21 settlements, similarly as directive issued for free provisions of the Sorig medicine to those above 65 years of age, 283 have received them.
In 83 settlement community quarantine centres with a total of 519 residents, 1598 beds have been procured by CTA. Since travel restrictions were lifted in Dharamshala, Tibetan returnees in 3 batches of 18, 18, 15 were given swab tests by the Indian government and none have confirmed positive for the virus.
The Mental Health Committee has checked up on the mental health and provided guidance to 500 Tibetans in quarantine.
Every Tuesday, the Health department issues directives to the Settlement Officers and Directors of the Branch hospitals on guidance and updates. Weekly Tuesday meetings of task force are broadcast via Tibet TV.
Dr Namdol briefed about the May 31 directive concerning the latest guidance from the Indian government’s Ministry of Home Affairs, on the relaxation of lockdown. From June 8, religious sites, hotels, restaurants, malls can open. More details on the actual implementation will be shared by the relevant office under the Centre. The 2nd phase of reopening from July is will likely see reopening of schools, colleges and coaching centres. Although the final decision will be made taking into consideration of stakeholders, state government, institutions and parents. Phase 3 of reopening is expected to see international travel resume, metro services, cinema halls, gyms, swimming pools, auditoriums, along with gathering permission for political, sports and religious events.
The 9pm to 5am curfew will remain. Containment zones established in states will remain till June 30 with only essential activities allowed like procuring food and medical care. This is the central government’s directive, yet it is at the state’s discretion to implement them taking into account the pandemic situation in the respective region.
Interstate and intrastate travel are permitted, by the Centre without travel pass, yet final authority lies with the state. Those above 65 years of age, under 10 years and chronic patients with hypertension, diabetes, heart and kidney diseases are urged to stay inside the home. Installation of Arogya setu app on phones is recommended for the public by the Centre. The public is urged to continue taking precaution as lockdown is lifted by the Centre.
Dr Tsamchoe stated that religious gathering for the sacred full moon day of Saka Dawa on June 7 is not been permitted as per the state government’s directive.
Dr Tsamchoe concluded the briefing by reiterating some of the general suggestions to the public on self-regulatory precautionary practices and for the vulnerable groups to stay inside homes and mental health care for the public.
Visit CTA’s official COVID-19 Emergency Relief Committee website for details.