By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 17 November 2020
Two staff members of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) have been infected with Coronavirus at its headquarters in Dharamshala, according to the Secretary of the Department of Health, Palden Dhondup.
He said that a staff from the Tibet Museum has been infected with the virus, the confirmation of which was reported on Monday afternoon.
All the offices of the CTA, except for the Department of Health, were closed, and the staff members have been asked to work from home. The offices are expected to remain closed for a few more days for sanitising.
The staff member had come in contact with 88 people in the last few days, all of whom will be tested for the virus, Dhondup explained.
The man’s wife was tested negative. He is in self-isolation at home.
Another staff, who had recently returned from official photography works in Varanasi, also tested positive while he was quarantining at a quarantine centre operated by the CTA. He is now being kept in isolation at the centre.
Dhondup said that he is suggesting to the higher authorities to close the CTA offices until all 88 people are tested. This would mean more than a week’s closure of the offices. “The risk is high. We have to see what the higher authorities decide,” he said.
“The offices could be resumed after thorough checkup, with 50 per cent staff strength, or a percentage that is viable to keep all the staff safe.”
According to the latest record of the Department of Health of CTA, the total number of exile Tibetans in India and Nepal who are infected by the virus is 1,185, of which 377 are active cases, and 28 have died from Covid-19, the disease caused by the Coronavirus. The number of deaths makes 2% of the total, while the recovery of 780 people makes 66%.
The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting 217 countries and territories around the world. It has infected more than 55 million people, and more than 1.2 million have died. The United States is leading the chart with 11.5 million cases, with over 250 thousand deaths. India is trailing with 8.8 million cases, and a reported 130 thousand deaths.
The virus that causes Covid-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. Breathing within close proximity of someone who has the virus, or touching a contaminated surface and then ones eyes, nose, or mouth, could lead to infection by the virus.
Secretary Dhondup urged the general public to wear mask, wash hands, and keep safe distance in public places to stay protected from the virus.