By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 19 April 2021
The Tibetan settlement of Dekiling has been put under indefinite lockdown after 138 infections of coronavirus cases in the last one week were recorded.
Four elders are on ventilator support, and many others showed mild symptoms like fever, headache, coughing and diarrhoea.
Settlement officer Norbu speaking to Tibet Sun said, “We do not have any serious patients, except for the four elder patients on ventilator. The others only have mild symptoms.”
All the 138 are in quarantine within the settlement, using all the spaces available. The hall, school, and an office room have been turned into temporary quarantine centres. The TB ward of the clinic has all the elders on ventilators.
The cases began after the elections on 11 April. Norbu explained that the sudden spike in the cases could be due to people returning from travels from other states, those who go to Debra Dun city for their day businesses, or houses in close proximity.
When asked about the possibility that the sudden report of infections in the settlement could be due to the the campaign meeting on 31 March held by one of the Sikyong candidates Kaydor Aukatsang, Norbu said that would be untrue.
“During Kaydor la’s campaign, people wore mask and maintained social distancing. I don’t believe the cases came out of that event.”
“We have from the beginning of the pandemic instructed the public to follow the government guidance on staying safe from the virus.”
The lockdown was imposed from 16th of this month at 12 noon. “We initially planned the lockdown till the 22nd, but now we have decided to have the lockdown indefinitely till the number of infections becomes zero,” Norbu said.
Two of the six nurses of the settlement also tested positive, and another wasn’t well. Norbu hired three more nurses; six nurses and volunteers are looking after all the quarantine centres. Three meals a day are served to all the patients.
The Uttarakhand state government health officials have visited the settlement to assess the situation. “Our settlement may be classified as a red zone. They already put a seal on the settlement main gate barring anybody from going in or out,” Norbu said.
“Medicines and RT-PCR tests are provided by the state government,” he added.
Sakya Trichen’s consort Dagmo Tashi Lhakee has provided help to take care of those in quarantine. “Her Eminence provided beds and offered salaries for two extra nurses for a few months,” Norbu said.
Dekiling settlement has about 1,500 Tibetan refugees. A few other neighbouring settlements come under the jurisdiction of the Dekiling settlement officer.
Another settlement, Hunsur in South India, has also reported 18 cases of infections.
The settlement officer Thupten Tsering confirmed the infections to Tibet Sun, and said that all the cases have been put in quarantine.
“We do not have any serious patient. The cases are all asymptomatic. There was one case of death of an 85-year-old man from Covid about a week ago,” Tsering said.
The Central Tibetan Administration data shown at the time of writing this report was 2,011 positive tests in India and Nepal. It wasn’t clear if the figures from these two settlements have been included in this data, which showed the number of Tibetan deaths from Covid-19 in India as 48.