Tibet Sun Online News
ON THE WEB, 2 May 2020
With the spread of Coronavirus steadily growing and the death toll continuing to rise in India, the President of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) Lobsang Sangay has ordered lockdown of the Tibetan settlements, schools, and monasteries across India till 5 June to prevent infection.
India has been under lockdown since 25 March, and has announced to further put its 1.3 billion people under curfew to remain home till 17 May, after the second phase of lockdown which is to end on 3 May. “Considerable relaxations” will be allowed in the lower-risk areas marked as green and orange zones during the shutdown.
Sangay announced the lockdown for Tibetans through an online press briefing at the CTA headquarters in Dharamshala, in northern India.
Anybody travelling to Himachal Pradesh state must self-quarantine at home for 28 days. Failing to do so will have officials register a FIR (First Information Report) against them, by which the charge will amount to “attempt to murder” for infringing the rules.
Staff members of CTA have been provided a specific location at the Tibetan Reception Centre in Khanyara to self-quarantine for 28 days. They will have to arrange their own food and bedding.
Minister of Department of Home of CTA Sonam Topgyal said that it is highly doubtful that the Tibetan who died in a hospital near Dharamshala on 23 March had Covid-19, the disease caused by the Coronavirus. The tests from the Tanda Hospital where the patient died showed the deceased to have been infected by the virus, but all his family members and people he came in contact with tested negative. His case had been widely reported as the first victim of the Coronavirus among exile Tibetans.
Topgyal said that apart from this questionable single case, there have been no reports of any other Tibetans affected by the pathogen anywhere in India, adding, “we hope the trend will continue.” He credited the Government of India for various measures, including the lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which he said prevented an exponential surge in infections.
However, more deaths followed in the Tibetan Diaspora when a man in his 80s died in London in late March, four in Queens Borough of New York City (three elderly and a young female nurse), and a 90-year-old man in Montreal, Canada. Tibet Sun has reliably learned that there are more than 100 cases of Tibetans infected in NYC, and about 30 in Toronto, mostly nurses.
Individuals, non-governmental organisations, and monasteries in India have been helping the poor and needy with cash and rations during the lockdown. Funds have also been donated to the Prime Minister CARES Fund by various Tibetan groups. The Karmapa has donated ten lakh rupees ($13,000 USD approx) to the CTA for relief works. He earlier donated 12 lakh rupees ($15,000 USD approx) to the Prime Minister CARES Fund.
Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association member Pintu Sharma and Tibetan United Association President Thinley Jampa have been distributing rations to poor and needy Tibetans and Indians on a daily basis in and around McLeod Ganj. Street dogs have also been cared for and fed.
The number of global Coronavirus cases has reached 3,401,189 since the disease was first reported in Wuhan, China, in December last year, with 239,604 deaths. The US is leading the chart with 1,131,452 cases and 65,776 deaths, while India recorded 37,336 cases with 1,223 deaths as of publication of this report.