DHARAMSALA, 13 May: The COVID- 19 Task Force of the Central Tibetan Administration reported a new weekly high of 443 new cases and 22 deaths among exiled Tibetans in India and Nepal in the past week as India continues to battle the deadly second wave of the pandemic.
“A total of 443 exiled Tibetans tested positive for the COVID-19 in the last week while 22 Tibetans have passed away due to the infection,” Dr Tsering Tsamchoe said during the committee’s weekly briefing.
Tests were conducted on 2,049 Tibetans this week, out of which 1,981 Tibetans are from 23 settlements in India and 68 from 5 settlements in Nepal.
Dr Tsamchoe further informed that a total of 1,695 exiled Tibetans from 27 Tibetan settlements in India and 6 from Nepal were under quarantine this week. Of the lot, 1,113 are under home quarantine while 582 are under institutional quarantine.
The tally now stands at 3377 COVID-19 positive cases to date out of which 2119 have recovered while 83 people have succumbed with 1175 active cases.
Deputy Secretary of Health Department Tenzin Kunsang said at the briefing that “Unlike the first wave of the COVID-19 that passed by us if we are not careful this time around, the second wave is severe,” and warned against complacency and the need to get tested and being cautious as she called for collective efforts to overcome the virus.
The cases have been reported from 29 Tibetan settlements in India and 4 from Nepal. Dharamsala, Delhi, and Dehradun remain the worst affected region which also accounted for the maximum casualties to the pandemic in the past week.
Since the beginning of India’s vaccination drive that began on 16th January 2021, so far, 16,222 Tibetans have been vaccinated of which 1,323 are frontline warriors, the committee said.
Dr Tenzin Tsundue spoke about the severity of the B1.617 virus strain which was classified as a “variant of concern,” that studies continue to suggest it being airborne. He further urged the public to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing.
He further spoke against the societal stigma and encouraged to get tested which he said could save one’s life, and protect others around.
“The situation is critical, so individuals as well as NGOs everyone should work collectively to overcome the COVID-19,” he said and thanked those who have been contributing and providing services so far.