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Shimla’s water ATM goes out of order

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Shimla: Less than three months after its installation, a drinking water ATM here, the first in Himachal Pradesh, has been lying defunct for almost a week, locals said Wednesday.

“The water ATM has not been operational for a week now. Despite complaints to the company, no steps have been taken to repair it,” local resident Ramesh Chand told IANS.

Another resident Rattan Lal Gautam said the company has even refused to refund the money charged for the prepaid card.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh inaugurated the innovative water dispensing system at the Ridge on July 28 to provide clean water to tourists and locals.

The machine was dispensing a litre of water for 50 paise.

Non-profit group Piramal Sarvajal has put up the water vending machine, which can also be operated through prepaid cards.

It is extremely simple to use a water ATM, like any usual ATM. The customer swipes a prepaid card and chooses the amount of water he wishes to buy.
-IANS

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal May Witness Second Wave of COVID-19 During Winter Season: Govt

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Himachal Pradesh-second wave of covid-19

Shimla– After lockdowns, the people seems to have resumed their normal routine and the government seems to have reduced tracing of COVID-19 cases, but the pandemic continues to tighten its grip. Official data released by the State Health Department, Himachal Pradesh had reported 20585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 till October 26, 2020, and witnessed 288 fatalities. Till yesterday, a total of 371107 persons were tested for COVID-19 in the state.

Though it should have been a priority since the beginning of the pandemic, it was on yesterday that the Chief Secretary Anil Khachi mentioned that the State should aim for zero fatality, and to achieve it, home isolation protocol should be strictly reinforced.

Currently, the state government has not formed any effective mechanism for medical check-up of COVID-19 patients under home isolation. It was only yesterday that the Himachal Pradesh Government spoke about regular medical check-ups of the people who have opted for home isolation. Directions have been issued to the health officials to ensure it. Such patients would be rushed to hospitals only if their condition worsens, the government said. 

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin- October 26, 2020 (9 PM)

Himachal Pradesh Winters-second wave of covid-19

If the Secretary Health Amitabh Awasthi was to be believed, the department was conducting about four thousand tests per day. He said that people need to be more cautious as the second spikes of the virus may take place during the winter season.

The government claimed that about 90 percent of deaths reported due to COVID-19 took place within 24 hours of patients being admitted in health institutions. The government admitted that the aged people and patients with co-morbidity need special attention.

The festive season ahead of Diwali poses another challenge for the government in making the public maintain social distancing, use face mask and hand sanitizers. There is hardly any check on unnecessary gathering in social functions.

Existing COVID-19 Care Centres and Hospitals are already over-burdened, the government accepted. However, the government is yet to work on increasing the testing facilities, procure adequate machinery in the makeshift hospitals, and provide staff on outsource basis.

According to Director General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, the police was taking all possible steps to persuade the people to maintain social distancing in public places.

Further, senior doctors have been asked to visit patients admitted to hospitals. The government said that thrust must be laid on Education, Information and Communication (IEC) so that the person with any kind of symptoms immediately visit the hospital for COVID-19.

According to Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, to monitor the situation he held 34 video conferences with the Deputy Commissioners, Superintendent of Police and Chief Medical Officers of the State. He said that necessary directions were given to the district officers to take steps to mitigate the crisis. He said that 14 video conferences were also held with the elected representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions to ensure people’s participation in effectively combating the crisis.

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CM Jairam Thakur Tests Positive for COVID-19, Quarantined

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HImachal Pradesh CM Tests Positive for COVID-19

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined at his official residence. The report was confirmed by the Chief Minister through a tweet in which he informed that he was under quarantine at his residence after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person. On the appearance of symptoms, he got himself tested and the report was found to be positive, he informed.

According to the initial report, the Chief Minister had come in contact with some COVID-19 positive persons in Manali. MLA of Banjar, Surinder Shourie, who was positive for COVID-19 had participated in the event organized on the occasion of the inauguration of Rohtang Tunnel, had also tested positive. Shourie had spent the entire day with the Chief Minister, reports said.

His private secretary had also tested positive, and there are chances that the Chief Minister might have contracted the infection from him. However, there is no certainty regarding the contact who infected the Chief Minister.

Other than Chief Minister, three Cabinet ministers – Urban Development Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Jalshakti Minister Mahender Singh- have tested positive so far.  Over ten MLAs have already tested positive and some of them have recovered too.

Meanwhile, despite community spread, the testing and tracing seem to have fallen and the fatality rate has witnessed a steep rise. Till 12 pm today, the COVID-19 death tally for the state was 245, and the total number of cases registered was 17414. But these are official statistics and these numbers are likely to be much higher. 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Kills 59 in 9 Days, Govt Still Clueless About Actual Number of Cases

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Himachal PRadesh Jairam Thakur

Shimla-COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as the death tally spirals upward rapidly. Currently, 240 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Fifty nine of these deaths have been reported during the last nine days of October month, which is quite alarming. But contrary to that, the attitude of the state government, as well as, the public is becoming more casual. The SOPs issued by the government are hardly being followed anywhere. The fact that with the community spread, the cases of COVID-19 are falling in the official information released by the state Health Department.

On October 9, the Department traced only 199 cases but reported seven deaths. The total number of active cases was cited to be 2856. The deceased included three females and four males aged between 49 -75 years. View details of the deceased in the below-given table:

Shimla-covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The total number of cases, as per the official statistics, had reached 16977 till yesterday evening (9 PM). But these are official statistics and the real number is likely to be much higher due to a community spread. Similarly, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths could be higher than the official statistics. Despite it, the state government is reluctant to release any projection regarding the real numbers. No statements have been issued regarding the current situation and strategy to combat the rising fatality rate. Rather, the state appears to be refraining from bringing up the matter.

The oppositions, HP Congress and CPI (M), are targeting the government over its failure to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, this opposition is quite feeble and hasn’t resulted in any reforms in the attitude of the government.

In a statement to media, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader, said that the rise in fatalities is the result of the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The suicide committed by a positive patient at the DDU COVID-19 hospital is evidence of it, he said. He said this approach has endangered health lives of ministers, officials, and the staff at their offices. Further, he said, health staff, paramedical staff, and police staff are getting infected, and even losing lives due to the government’s unpreparedness.  The government had even compromised the safety of the Prime Minister and Education Minister by violating norms set regarding COVID-19, he said.

HP Congress chief, Kuldeep Rathor also expressed shock over the presence of COVID-19 positive MLA of Banjar, Surender Shourie, in the event organized for the PM. He alleged that by violating all norms, the MLA concealed information regarding his COVID-19 positive status and did not quarantine himself, which reflects the state government’s attitude toward management of the corona pandemic. He had demanded registration of an FIR against Shourie and action against erring officials.

Sanjay Chauhan, further said that the government did not prepare itself to combat the pandemic the way it was expected to. The people of the state had followed the lockdown and sacrificed their livelihood with a hope that the government would prepare itself during this period to combat the spread and to strengthen the health infrastructure and services. But instead, the government indulged itself in making people clap and beat ‘thalis’.  The Chief Minister adopted and preached unscientific practices like performing a ‘havan’.  Despite a steep rise in fatalities, the government is still not serious about the situation, he said. 

He said the CPI (M) demands that the government starts working on war footing to prepare a strategy by involving health experts, strengthening the health services by recruiting doctors, para-medical and other staff, and constitute a task force to deal with the situation. The government should work diligently on following the norms set for prevention from COVID-19, he added.  

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