Dharamshala: Footprints of the highly contagious and fast spreading coronavirus having been established in the state, the government adopting proactive measures had put 1895 people under direct surveillance and on Tuesday tested 16 new persons, who were suspected of being infected.
Five of the tests taken today have turned out negative,” disclosed RD Dhiman, additional chief secretary health. “Test results of 11 others are awaited,” he added.
However, a media bulletin made public by the government stated “16 samples have been tested today out of which 2 samples are awaited.”
With the state under lockdown and the government having imposed a curfew, Dhiman has appealed to all those who have travelled from foreign countries to make a disclosure so that quarantine and early treatment can be done, if anyone of them was found to be infected with coronavirus.
He said that anybody could provide information on helpline number 104 or to the concerned district administration about travel history of persons residing in their neighbourhood.
Dhiman also warned that legal action would be taken against those who conceal their travel history.
To deal with the pandemic the government earlier today released Rs 10 crores for purchase of masks, gloves, medicines, sanitisers and protective equipment of doctors and other health service providers. Todays funds are in addition to the Rs 5 crore released earlier, said an official spokesman.
With Kangra district having become the hotspot of coronavirus in Himachal Pradesh, the district administration is carrying out intensive investigation about the movement of the two patients who tested positive and the third one who was found COVID-19 positive after he had died.
One of the patients, Sarla Devi, 64 is a resident of Shahpur area in Kangra district and had returned from Dubai on 17th March.
The other confirmed patient Dinesh Kumar, 34, is a resident from Lunj area of Kangra and returned from Singapore after a stopover at Bangalore and Delhi. From Delhi he had travelled in an HRTC Volvo bus.
All those who came into contact, including family members, with Sarla Devi and Dinesh Kumar have been quarantined.
Tenzin Choden, 69, the Tibetan refugee, who died on Monday with COVID-19 infection, travelled from US to India arrived in Delhi on 15th March and stayed at Majnu Ka Tila area for 5 days before arriving in McLeodganj on 21st March. On the route he had food at a dhaba in Amb area of Una. All those who came in contact with the deceased Tibetan have been quarantined.
To contain person to person contact after imposition of curfew, Rakesh Prajapati, deputy commissioner Kangra, has stopped circulation and distribution of newspapers in the district
“No person shall distribute or deliver any printed newspaper, magazines and other printed material within the territorial limits district Kangra,” Prajapati has decreed.
The district authorities have also warned the Tibetan Government in Exile at McLeodganj and asked them to quarantine and check the people who remained in touch with deceased.
Mcleodganj has been sealed since Monday night after the death of the Tibetan. Nobody was being allowed to enter or leave Mcleodganj area of Dharamsala.
After imposition of curfew, a police spokesman revealed, those who do not comply with law/regulatory orders related to curb COVID-19 could be booked under:
*1. Sec 188 IPC:* Violation of order promulgated by Govt.
*2. Sec.269 IPC*
Negligently doing any act known to be likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life
Imprisonment for 6 months or fine, or both.
*3. Sec 270 IPC*
Malignantly doing any act known to be likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life
Imprisonment for 2 years, or fine, or both
*4. Sec.271 IPC*
Knowingly disobeying any quarantine rule
Imprisonment for 6 months, or fine, or both *Non-cognizable.*
Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience.
He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI.
In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.