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Chief Minister urges youngsters to pay regard to the elders

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Chief Minister urges youngsters to pay regard to the elders

Chief Minister urges youngsters to pay regard to the elders

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh gave clarion call to the younger generation to respect and serve the elderly as their blessings and experiences pave the way for prosperity and discipline in life.

The Chief Minister was speaking at the function organized on ‘International Day of Older Persons’ by the Social Justice and Empowerment Department in association with Help Age India an NGO, at the Ridge here today. The very purpose of celebrating this day was to pay regard and respect to our elders and help them solve their grievances.

Virbhadra Singh said we should follow the ideals of many other Gurus, Saints and rulers who deeply regarded their elders. We should learn from the vast experiences of the elders as they could show the right path and also contribute immensely in enlightening the society in a constructive manner because of their long experience of life.

He said that the successive Congress Governments had always taken catered to the interest of elders and various schemes had been framed to ensure their welfare. He said that Himachal Pradesh was the first State in the country to implement ‘Parents Maintenance Act’ which was later followed by various States. Under the Act, stringent provisions had been made to motivate and ensure the children to take care of their parents.

The Chief Minister said that State Government had enhanced the social security pension of elders in the age group of 61 to 79 years to Rs. 550 per month those above 80 years, were being provided Rs. 1000 per month irrespective of their income limit.

Chief Minister also administered the oath pertaining to security and dignity of the elders on the occasion.

Later, Chief Minister flagged off Inter-Generational Walkathon of elderly people.

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Dr. (Col.) Dhani Ram Shandil while welcoming the Chief Minister and old citizens said that the State Government had formulated various welfare schemes for the elders. The Government was providing social security pension to as many as 1,79,421 old persons. The Government was also providing grant in aid for running four old age homes in the State under an Integrated Scheme for older persons. The elders residing in old age homes were being provided free shelter, food and medical facilities.

He said that the State Government was also providing financial assistance to NGOs for running day care centres for elders and helpline and counseling centres in the State.

The artists of the Information and Public Relations Department presented a skit based on importance of elders.

P.C. Dhiman, Principal Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment, Dinesh Malhotra, Deputy Commissioner, M.P. Sood, Special Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment, Sharabh Negi, Director, SC, OBC and Minority Affairs, children of various schools were present on the occasion amongst others.

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Himachal: Read All SOPs for Hotels, Restaurants, Home-Stays and Others Involved in Tourism Industry

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Himachal pradesh - all SOPs for hotel and tourists

Shimla-Queues of vehicles waiting to enter Himachal Pradesh from other States were seen at the Parwanoo barrier on Sunday – a day after the Government opened the State for tourist activity and allowed entry without any pass or permission. The visitors will have to only register themselves on an online portal and furnish a COVID-19 test report not older than 72 hours to confirm they are not infected.  The public and the hoteliers have termed this decision as catastrophic considering the fact that the State is witnessing rapid rise in number of COVID-19 cases with returnees. 

After allowing tourism activity in Himachal Pradesh, the State Government has issued a rigorous 29-page long list of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for opening and operation for hotels, restaurants, B&B, home-stays, taxi drivers, wayside amenities like food outlets/stalls, those offering recreational adventure activities like para-gliding, rafting etc., amusement parks, banqueting, and sightseeing services.  

Considering the SOPs, it appears tourism is not going to be so much fun for both the guests and the staff. 

There are guidelines for almost everything from check-in to check-out like linen count, its allocation, cleaning, disposing of garbage. The SOPs have also mentioned the disinfectant, frequency of cleaning and methods of cleaning for different items/areas.  

Himachal Pradesh - all SOPs for hotels

Then there are guidelines for cleaning and sanitization of bathrooms, doorknobs, elevator, public counter, printers, scanners, tabletops, chair handles, pens, diary files keyboards, mouse pad, tech coffee dispensing machine etc. In case a guest coughs or sneezes, then the two-meter area around the guest would have to be cleaned/sanitized.

All hotels, restaurants, B&B/Homestays must-have thermal guns with which all staff and guests would be scanned daily. Further, the list of must-have items includes hand sanitizers, masks, garbage bags, chemicals for deep cleaning. Hand gloves and gown/apron are only recommended.

 Handling COVID-19 Suspects

The most important part is handling COVID-19 suspects. Hotels can’t deny entry even if someone shows symptoms of the disease. As per the SOPs, the management would have to provide N-95 masks to such suspected patients, offer medical help, send them to their rooms, and monitor their health. If the illness persists, the management would have to lock the room, clean and disinfect the entire floor and reception area. Then, the staff would have to inform the case on the COVID-19 helpline.

The hotels would have to take a lot of details regarding the guest in a given format.

The SOPs also contains several do’s and don’t for guest and staff. Guest in one room can not interact with guests in other rooms.

The hoteliers are also directed to offer online service for check-in which would include scanning QR code by guests for filling details in an online form that also allows uploading required documents. The form should appear on the screen of receptionist/front office manager. The online form should provide an “I Agree” checkbox before submission. The guests should get an OTP on their registered mobiles to confirm check-in.

Hotels would have to use spacing measures like stickers, tapes, markers to maintain distance at all places.

There are several other guidelines which you can read in the copy of the full notification uploaded at the end of this report.

The hotels have been asked to encourage staff to use their vehicles and avoid public transport. Further, sanitization and exchange of uniform would be a daily norm

Training departments of hotels would have to conduct sensitization classes for staff on updated hygiene standard. All employees should be aware of all COVID-19 related symptoms.

Establishing a Management Team (Rapid Response Team)

As per the SOPs, hotels would have to appoint a management team headed by “Rapid Response Leader” ideally an officer from higher management or specially appointed officer and “Rapid Response Officers” from each and every operational department. The appointed team would have to follow these guidelines in consultation with other directions, which may be issued from various authorities in connection with COVID-19.

The team would be responsible to prevent incidents, effectively manage cases, and mitigate impact among guests, staff and other involved parties.

Restaurants

Restaurants have been asked to encourage prior booking. Every guest would be scanned and if the scanner records a temperature of 98.6 fahrenheit, then the entry would be denied and guests would be asked to return.  

In case the guests don’t have masks, then the restaurant management would have to provide them with masks. Contrary to this, the guests not wearing masks should be denied entry. They will have to reduce their sitting capacity at least by 2/3 to change the seating plan to maintain social distancing.

The guests would be served only bottled water after disinfecting outside surface of bottles. Restaurants would have to use disposable menu which offers more cooked food and discourage raw food like salad. The table and chairs would be cleaned and disinfected daily. Restaurants have been asked to avoid buffet food.

All glassware should be washed with hot water and lemon. The units would have to sanitize non-veg food with 100 ppm chlorine and non-veg items with 50 ppm chlorine.

All machine touchpoints, operating panels, seats, covers, toolbox etc requiring human touch should be sanitized at an hourly frequency with effective sanitizers. Further, every restaurant must have good quality disposable hand gloves, three layers masks with synthetic outer layer/N95 masks, long gowns, eye goggles or face shield

PPEs should be discarded in a plastic bag, sealed and labelled as infectious waste.

Food delivery personnel have been directed leave the packet at a 1-meter distance at customer’s door and avoid handing over the food packet directly to the customers. Restaurants are asked to encourage takeaways and discourage dine in.

They will have to use a cleaning solution such as soap and water (preferably hot water, followed by disinfection using freshly prepared 1% hypochlorite solution or equivalent. After cleaning dishes, sanitation using alcohol/quaternary ammonium is recommended.

The units would have to scrub floors with hot water and detergent using minimal water twice a day.

Restaurants have also been asked to train drivers, loaders and staff about symptoms of COVID-19 and preventive measures. Transporters are advised to avoid the use of public toilet during break and maintain a high standard of hygiene.

The SOPs have also mentioned sanitization of food packaging along with the retention time of the coronavirus on different surfaces. (Given Below).

average retention time of coronavirus

For B&B/Home Stay

For B&B/Home Stays must-have thermal guns and other PPEs. The owner would have to gather all details regarding guests like travel history, medical condition, get a separate self-declaration form, and maintain files in addition to regular registers. As per the SOPs, it would be mandatory to mop the floor twice a day. The units have been asked to use disposable cutlery. The guest would not be allowed to washing clothes inside rooms.

Then there are guidelines for wayside amenities like food outlets. The cab drivers have also been asked to wear masks and sanitize the vehicle after every trip.

There are directions regarding reducing the density of visitors at a sightseeing place and tourist spots. Service providers have been asked to offer online tickets online for museums, parks, zoos etc.

Photographs can’t offer dresses to visitors for photoshoots.

For recreational adventure activities like water sports, service providers would have to sanitize rafts, boats, jet ski, paddle boats, life jackets, helmets, paddles.  There is also a guideline to maintain social distancing in paragliding.

In banqueting, only fifty guests would be allowed in a family social function.

Click Here to Read Copy of Complete Notification 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Death Toll Rises to Nine with Another Fatality, Total Cases Rise to 1041

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Himachal PRadesh death toll covid 19

Shimla-The COVID-19 death toll for Himachal Pradesh rose to nine with the death of a 70-year-old man at the Nerchowk Medical College and Hospital on Friday night. The victim was identified as a resident of Sujanpur area of Hamirpur district. The man was a patient of diabetes and kidney-related disease. Of the total nine deaths due to COVID-19, six have been reported in those suffering from a kidney-related disease.

Till Saturday afternoon, the total number of positive cases had risen to 1041, of which 331 are active, and 686 had recovered. Yesterday, the State had reported 19 cases while 39 persons recovered. These cases were reported from Una (6), Kinnaur (4), Hamirpur (3) Kangra (2), Chamba (2), Mandi (1), and Solan (1) districts.

The infected included an ASHA worker too. The six cases reported from Una district also include a policeman, who is said to be the driver of the DSP, Amb. Following the arrival of the report, the DSP Office was sealed and would be opened after sanitization. So far, the administration had not found any travel history of the infect policeman. Samples of about few policemen at the DSP office were not taken based on travel history or appearance of symptoms. 

Also Read: Tourist Activity Allowed, Read New Rules for Entering State, Quarantine, Plying of Public Transport

A factory in Nalagarh area of Solan district was sealed after a worker tested positive. The worker was reportedly staying at a housing colony and have a travel history. His sample was taken after he complained of fever, a district health official said. 

According to the latest update received from the State Health Department at 5:00 PM, eight new cases were reported today from Hamirpur (7) and Kangra (1). The seven patients from Hamirpur reportedly belong to two families who had recently returned from Delhi.

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin for July 4 (Till 5:00 PM)

Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 death toll

In terms of cases, Kangra district has reported 283 cases – highest in the State so far. Currently, the district has 92 active cases. Hamirpur district is right behind Kangra with a total of 263 cases, of which 75 are active.

Una (111) and Solan (119) districts have also reported a high number of cases. Kullu (5) and Lahaul-Spiti (4) are the least affected districts. In Kullu, the number of active cases is zero as all patients have been cured.

However, as the State Government has now issued a notification regarding the opening of State borders for visitors and has also allowed entry of tourists and tourism activities without the need for an e-pass or permission from concerned administrations. Public transport has also been allowed to run with 100 percent occupancy.

It would be no surprise if the number of cases witnesses a sudden spurt due to this decision of the Government.

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Himachal: Tourist Activity Allowed, Read New Rules for Entering State, Quarantine, Plying of Public Transport

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Himachal Pradesh New Rules quarantine on entering state

Shimla: What appears to be a blunder amid continuous surge in COVID-19 cases in India as well as in Himachal Pradesh, the State Government has decided to open the borders and allow movement of all people including tourists without permission or E-Pass. Restrictions on re-opening would be limited to only containment zones.

As a matter of concern, tourists with an advance booking of a minimum of five days and COVID-19 test report obtained not earlier than 72 hours from an ICMR accredited laboratory, would not be quarantined anymore and they would not need any pass to roam around.

The visitors entering the State would have to register on COVID-19 portal (https://covid19epass.hp.gov.in/) in advance. It’s the same portal which was earlier used to issue e-passes. Anyone who wants to visit Himachal from other states or abroad will have to fill their details during registration but would not require a pass/permission from the State or district administration.

Only those arriving from high-load cities would have to follow the mandatory institutional quarantine. Relaxation can be given only in the case of death, pregnancy, medical urgency, elderly people, and children below 10 years or infants. Daily and weekend commuters entering and exiting the State have been exempted from quarantine requirements. It includes industrialists, traders, raw material suppliers, factory workers, project proponents, service providers, inspecting authorities etc. Also, persons falling in these categories are exempted from home-quarantine on arrival from other states.

The residents of Himachal Pradesh exiting the State to visit other states for a short duration for medical, business or official purposes and coming back to the State within 48 hours have also been exempted from home-quarantine provided they are asymptomatic.

Further, persons visiting the State for bonafide purpose of trade, business, job, project, service purpose, marriage ceremonies, commission agents, and ‘artiyas’ can enter the state with supporting documents provided they are not arriving from high-load cities.  

The orchardist, agriculturist, contractors, project proponents etc. would have to get all hired labourers registered on the same portal. They will have to arrange for quarantine facility for all labour brought from other states. The Government has also allowed sending such labour directly to the site of work (orchards, industries, farmlands etc.) provided they follow the guidelines regarding quarantine and social distancing.

Personals of the Armed forces and Central paramilitary Forces would not need registering on the portal and will be allowed to enter by showing their official identity card.

The decision is quite surprising considering the fact that the total of COVID-19 positive cases has crossed the 1000 mark and the rate of appearance of new cases is also on the rise in the State. The State government claimed that it had requested the Centre to allow the State to regulate the entry of people in wake of the rising cases in the State. However, the State Government claimed that the Centre declined this request. Moreover, the economy of the State has been hit adversely due to the lockdown, thus, zero tourist influx.

Therefore, under pressure to resume economic activities, at the same time, the State Government has given a huge relaxation in the lockdown and social distancing measures. The Government has removed the conditions of maintaining 60 percent occupancy in the state carriage buses. Now, the buses could run with 100 percent capacity, informed a  Spokesperson of the HP Transport Department on Friday.

“This will be subject to maintaining social distancing and that no standing passenger would be allowed in the buses during the journey,”

the Spokerspoers said.

Other conditions not related to maintaining 60 percent occupancy mentioned in the Department’s notification issued on May 30, 2020, will remain the same, the Spokesperson said. However, the inter-state movement of public transport would remain prohibited. Inter-state movement of taxis is allowed after obtaining permission from the concerned Deputy Commissioner.

On the situation in the State, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur yesterday said that all is well, and the cause of surge in cases is due to people returning from other States.

“The situation in the State was quite under control. There is a sharp increase in corona patients in the State as over two lakh people from different parts of the country have been brought back to Himachal Pradesh. The people of the State need not worry as the Government is fully aware of the situation,”

Again, he compared the number of cases and fatalities in India with the rest of the world to claim that the spread is contained effectively.

“Number of death due to COVID-19 in the fifteen most developed countries with a population of 142 crore was about five lakh, whereas in India having a population of 135 crore, about 17,000 had lost life due to Corona till date,”

he said.

The State Government said that hotels and restaurants/dhabas would have to follow guidelines issued by the Department of Tourism from time to time. The restaurants and dhabas are allowed to serve food by operating only at 60 percent of their seating capacity. The HPTDC lifts in Shimla city have also been allowed to operate.

On the other hand, the hoteliers are not in favour of opening hotels due to the fear of COVID-19 spread. The Hoteliers & Restaurant Association, Shimla, had written to the State Government a couple of days ago suggesting that tourism activities in the State should not be allowed for the coming few months.

The Association in a written submission had given the following reasons to not open tourism activities (unedited):

  1. Corona cases are increasing at an alarming speed in India and a world at large. As per expert opinion, Corona pandemic will be at peak in the month of July/ Aug. 20
  2. In the summer season, we get bulk of our visitors from Punjab, Delhi, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu. As most of the areas in the above States are gravely infected and are in the red zone, we should not invite them to visit Himachal and put our public at risk of Corona.
  3. The railway which is the popular mode of transportation for the tourist is not operating till August 12, 2020, and airlines have also suspended their operations till July 15.
  4. As most of the Corona patients are asymptomatic, despite taking all precautions and social distancing, we will be putting the life and health of our hotel staff at grave risk, if they come in contact with them.
  5. At present, there is no vaccine available for the cure of Corona, so there is a fear psychosis amongst the population and they are concerned about their health and safety and would not like to venture out from their homes and stay in hotels.
  6. For the above reasons, we don’t expect many tourists to visit Himachal in July and August 20, It will be financially unviable to open hotels.

The Association had suggested that touristic activities in hotels may be permitted after the rainy season is over, sometime in September or October.

Himachal Pradesh is witnessing a rapid rise in COVID-19 case since the day the Government opened borders for its residents who were stranded in other States. So far they required e-pass and had to go through mandatory institutional and home-quarantine. However, now, with borders opened for all including tourists without obtaining any permission, the people of the State need to be prepared in case the outbreak gets out of control.

In such a scenario, people can’t solely rely on the Government and will have to follow social distancing rules strictly to protect themselves.

Click to Read Full Notification 

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