DHARAMSALA, 30 April: The COVID- 19 Task Force of the Central Tibetan Administration reported a new weekly high of 352 COVID-19 positive cases among exiled Tibetans in the past week as India battles the deadly second wave of the pandemic.
“A total of 352 exiled Tibetans tested positive for the COVID-19 in the last week while three Tibetans passed away due to the infection,” Dr Tsering Tsamchoe said during the committee’s weekly briefing.
Tests were conducted on 2,334 Tibetans from 19 settlements in India and 2 from settlements in Nepal in the last week.
Dr Tsamchoe further informed that a total of 972 exiled Tibetans from 23 Tibetan settlements in India and 2 from Nepal were under quarantine this week. Of the lot, 655 are under home quarantine while 319 are under institutional quarantine.
The tally now stands at 2,450 COVID-19 positive cases to date out of which 1,720 have recovered while 53 people have succumbed with 677 active cases.
The cases have been reported from 22 Tibetan settlements in India and 2 from Nepal and the committee described Delhi, Dharamsala and Dekyiling Tibetan settlement as the worst-hit regions.
Though India’s largest vaccination drive to vaccinate everyone from18-44 years of age will officially open from 1 May and the registration for it went live from Wednesday, she informed the public about the scarcity of the vaccine that makes procuring it a challenge.
She categorically urged all those who have received the first jab and are eligible to receive the second dose to do so without delay.
Tibetan Delek Hospital, located just outside the main entrance of the central Tibetan secretariat is an authorized Covid-19 vaccination centre.
India’s vaccination drive started on 16th January 2021. The first phase covered healthcare and frontline workers while the second and third included those over 60 years of age as of January 1st, 2022 and persons between 45 and 59 years with comorbid conditions respectively.
So far, 15,457 Tibetans have been vaccinated of which 1,230 are frontline warriors.
Tsering, the Deputy Secretary of the CTA’s Health Department said that the situation is “very critical across India,” and further discouraged Tibetans from travelling, social gatherings, and meetings
“Stay where ever you are and avoid travelling. Avoid travelling out of your settlements.”
He further called for collective efforts to fight the pandemic before the community start to reel under it.
Delek hospital’s Dr Namdol from the committee said at the briefing that the new variant of the virus is more contagious and advised against careless behaviour and complacency.
She urged the public to wear masks properly, wash hands frequently, and avoid travelling. Describing the vaccine as safe and effective, she concluded by saying “get vaccinated if you can.”
Since its outbreak from Wuhan in late 2019, the pandemic has infected 144,757,145 people and killed 3,072,309 people globally according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
India sits second in the list of the country worst hit by the pandemic with 19,164,969 active cases and 211,853 deaths.