Coronavirus: Fifteen Tibetans infected in McLeod Ganj

Deserted look along Jogiwara Road after it was made into a containment zone to fight the Coronavirus, in McLeod Ganj, India, on 9 December 2020.

Deserted look along Jogiwara Road after it was made into a containment zone to fight the Coronavirus, in McLeod Ganj, India, on 9 December 2020. Tibet Sun/Contributor

Tibet Sun Newsroom

McLEOD GANJ, India, 9 December 2020

Six Tibetans have been found infected with Coronavirus in the last few days in McLeod Ganj, with nine more cases found today through contact tracing, according to Tibetan Settlement officer Kunga Tsering.

The six were detected after the Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) ordered that everyone from shops and restaurants be tested for the virus, due to a surge in the number of cases in Kangra District. Testing was done by Tanda Hospital near Dharamshala.

The staff of all shops and restaurants in McLeod Ganj were asked to be tested, and the positive Tibetan cases found were mostly on the part of Jogiwara Road between the Main Chowk and the Handicraft Centre (Nyamley). McLeod Ganj has about equal numbers of Tibetans and Indians. Tibet Sun wasn’t able to get information about test results of the Indian population.

“Following the orders of the SDM to test all close contacts of six infected people, tests of their contacts resulted in nine new infections being found today,” Tsering explained.

Stating the situation as a case of extreme emergency, SDM Harish Gajju ordered the complete sealing of the area from Main Chowk to Dolma Chowk on Jogiwara Road as a containment zone. Temple Road, on the other side of the Namgyalma Stupa, will not be closed.

“Under no circumstances shall there be any ingress/outgress of any person from the containment zone at any time of the day, except for persons/vehicles involved in enforcement of containment plan and maintaining essential services including medical emergencies,” the order released today said.

The orders have been implemented with immediate effect, closing down the whole street of Jogiwara Road from the Main Chowk to the Handicraft Centre (Nyamlay) at Dolma Chowk, beginning this evening. The closure will remain in place till the 15th.

Those who were tested positive were asked to quarantine at home, unless they become sick, and then they would be taken to hospital. A few staff members at the Central Tibetan Administration were detected with the virus in the last few weeks, and are also in quarantine.

Since the opening of the state borders, tourists from neighbouring states like Punjab, Haryana, and Jammu have flocked to McLeod Ganj, with some others coming from Delhi and other states.

One of the main attractions of McLeod Ganj — Tsuglakhang, the Dalai Lama’s temple — has been out of bounds to the public since the pandemic reached the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh in March.

So far in India and Nepal, 1,353 Tibetans have contracted the Coronavirus, and 34 have died from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

The total of all people infected in Kangra District is 6,190, and 150 have died so far. The total infections in Himachal Pradesh state are 46,201, and number of deaths is 743.

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