COVID-19 weekly briefing: CTA reports 429 positive cases

CTA’s Medical workers taking samples of Tibetans outside the CTA office.

DHARAMSALA, 13 Jan: With the COVID-19 cases on the rise in India and the Union Health Ministry reporting nearly 2.5 lakh cases in 24 hours across the country, the infection has spiralled among the exiled Tibetans in India as well.

A total of 429 new positive cases were reported among exiled Tibetans in India over the past seven days, Dr Tsering Tsamchoe said during the committee’s weekly briefing.

The cases, she said were reported after testing 1,531 Tibetans from 16 Tibetan settlements in India.

An alarming spread of COVID-19 among Tibetans in Dharamsala jurisdiction which accounts for over half of the reported cases has become a COVID hotspot among the exiled Tibetans in India.

With only 80 cases reported last week, the cases have increased by 19 per cent in the last seven days.

Dr Tsamchoe added that a total of 812 exiled Tibetans from 10 Tibetan settlements in India are under quarantine. While 476 of them are under home quarantine, 336 are under institutional quarantine.

The tally now stands at 7,489 COVID-19 positive cases to date, 6,832 recoveries, 162 deaths and 495 active cases.

With the cases spiking, Deputy Secretary of Health Department Tenzin Kunsang briefed about the committee’s task over the past seven days, the committee’s meeting with the Tibetan Settlement Officers and further warned Tibetans against any lapses and urged everyone eligible to get inoculated.

The committee announced that 48,673 Tibetans in India are fully vaccinated while 1,620 Tibetans have received the first dose. The toll in Nepal stands at a total of 6,990 Tibetans completely vaccinated.

With India having rolled out a vaccination drive for those in the age group of 15-17 since 4 Jan, a total of 1,178 Tibetan children in India have so far received their first dose. Additionally, a total of 284 Tibetan frontline workers and 1,097 Tibetans above 60 years of age in India have also been inoculated with the Booster doses that New Delhi started amid surging cases on 3 Jan.

Dr Tenzin Tsundue from Delek Hospital spoke about the spike in the positivity rate across Indian states and cautioned Tibetans in Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh where exile Tibetans are densely populated as both the states have increased their positivity rate from 1 per cent to over 5 per cent.

Describing the cases reported so far among exiled Tibetans as largely asymptomatic with some cases of sore throat, and the Omicron variant perceived not so severe, he attributed it to the mass vaccination of Tibetans but warned against any lapses with deaths reported among persons completely inoculated in Kangra.

He further urged those under quarantine to be responsible and not to break away besides urging everyone to continue to exercise caution by following the standard guidelines by wearing masks, keeping social distancing, and washing hands regularly.

Since its outbreak in Wuhan in late 2019, the pandemic has infected 317,308,612people and killed 5,515,258people globally according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

India, having registered 247,417 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, the highest in 8 months, has now climbed back to the 6th position on the list of countries worst hit by the pandemic in the world.

Ten days earlier, India stood at the 21st position.

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