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Coronavirus in Himachal: Govt Holds Review Meeting Regarding Preparedness After 3 Suspected Cases Appear

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Coronavirus cases in himachal pradesh

Shimla-As three suspected cases of coronavirus were reported in Himachal Pradesh, the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur today held a review meeting regarding preparedness of State to take preventive and control measures regarding Novel Corona Virus.

So far, one suspected case of corona virus has been reported at IGMC Shimla and two in Tanda Medical College, Kangra. The samples of these three suspected cases have been sent to Delhi. However, no person has been reported to be infected with this virus, he said.

Chief Minister said that isolation wards have been set up at designated hospitals and health out post has been created at PHC Mcleodganj in Kangra district.

Three 108 ambulances with availability of PPE kit and N-95 masks have been earmarked for transportation of such cases.  Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTs) at state as well as district level have been re-notified and sensitized, the Chief Minister said.

He also said that self-notification by travelers through hoteliers is being ensured by involving Deputy Commissioners Office.

He said that awareness regarding Novel Corona Virus was being created through mass media, Gram Sabhas, public representatives and toll free call centers have also been made functional. He said that 208 calls have been received on 104 helpline till 3rd March, 2020.

He said that those who have visited Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China during past 14 days or any time after 15th Jan, 2020, would be examined either at IGMC or Dr. RPGMC Tanda, Kangra and samples would be taken for Corona Virus infection. Apart from this people who have visited China or any other COVID-19 affected 12 countries any time after 10th February, 2020, and suffering from acute onset of fever, cough and shortness of breath would be examined either at IGMC Shimla or Dr. RPGMC Tanda.

An appeal has been made to the people to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. People should avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands and to avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Chief Secretary Anil Khachi, ACS Health R.D. Dhiman, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Sanjay Kundu, Secretary I&PR Rajneesh, Special Secretary Health, Director Health Services, Director Medical Education, Senior Medical Superintendent IGMC and other senior officers were present in the meeting.

 

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Quarantine Facility for Migrant Labourers Responsibility of Industrialist/Contractor: HP Govt

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Himachal-pradesh-new directions for migrant labourer entry

Shimla-As the relaxation in entry and quarantine rules for migrant labourers seems to be backfiring, the Chief Minister Jairam-led Himachal Pradesh Government has come into a damage control mode. Today, the Government said that it has decided that the industrialists or their contractors in the industrial area would be allowed to bring labourers after due approval of the administration. They would be kept in quarantine as per guidelines issued by the Health Department, it said.  

As per the Government directions, big industrial units will have to create adequate quarantine capacity, whereas small units can pool for creating the quarantine facility. The Industries and Labour and Employment Departments have also been asked to keep a strict vigil on industrial units to follow the SOP issued from time to time in this regard, the Government said.

The directions came following a widespread criticism of recent decision taken by the State Government to allow entry of all including tourists to Himachal with merely registering on an online portal and furnishing a COVID-19 negative test report of an accredited laboratory. Any such person did not require any prior permission and their details were confirmed only on their arrival at the State borders.Also, quarantine rules were relaxed for migrant labourers after industries and apple growers faced a shortage of labour due to the return of these workers to their home states amid corona pandemic. However, with an explosion of COVID-19 cases among workers of factories in the BBN area, the government seems to be backtracking to control it. 

All Persons with ILI Symptoms to be Tested

The Chief Medical Officers have been asked to increase the testing capacity of COVID-19 in their respective districts. Directions have been given that all the persons with ILI symptoms should be invariably tested for COVID-19 besides ensuring proper testing of all the primary and secondary contacts of COVID-19 patients.

Temples to Remain Closed for Now

Given the festive season, the State Government has decided not to open the temples and other religious places in the State for the time being to avoid overcrowding.  The officers have been asked to strictly enforce the decision of allowing the participation of not more than 50 persons in marriages and other family functions.

The Government also informed that about 1560 people of the State have arrived from 78 cities of 61 countries to the State after being medically examined. Out of these 1117 persons had arrived at New Delhi Airport, 192 at Amritsar Airport and 248 persons at Chandigarh International Airport. As many as 613 flights were attended by the Officers of the State Government at New Delhi, Amritsar and Chandigarh Airports.

 

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Himachal: After Widespread Backlash, HP Govt Again Make Changes in Rules for Entry, Quarantine

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Himachal Pradesh New Rules for Entry

Shimla-Rules for entry into Himachal Pradesh were again changed by the State Government on Tuesday. After facing widespread criticism over its decision to open the State borders for all including tourists amid sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, the Government has yet again accepted that opening State borders for entry without e-pass or any permission has created problems of its own.

Additional Chief Secretary Health R.D. Dhiman on July 14 said that e-passes are not being issued presently to the people entering the state. They are being allowed to enter the state based on the information they provided, but many people are hiding their proper address and identity, he accepted. Also, instances have been reported where such person entered the state by furnishing fake COVID-19 negative report or lying about their purpose of their visits.

“Keeping this in view now every entrant will have to verify the required information and only after certifying this information they would be registered to enter the state otherwise strict legal action would be taken against them,” said Dhiman informing about the new guidelines.

Further, after the appearance of a record 69 cases in the Baddi area -the industrial hub of the State – on Monday, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur-led State Government has been facing backlash over relaxing quarantine rules for migrant labourers coming to the area.

Also Read: Himachal Reports 78 Cases in Single Day Including Record 69 from Solan Alone

Following this backlash, the State Government was compelled to again make changes in the rules regarding the condition of quarantine for migrant labourers entering the state. 

“The return of industrial labourers has also begun from other states. However, keeping in view the increase of COVID-19 patients due to people coming from other states, it has been decided by the State Government to keep the industrial labourers in either institutional quarantine or in-home quarantine,” Jairam said. 

The contractor and industrial institutions would be completely responsible for it, he said.

“They would be allowed to work after their report for COVID-19 is found negative,” he said.  

It’s pertinent to mention that it is almost impossible for such labourers to follow home-quarantine as they mostly live in shared spaces with common facilities like a toilets/washrooms and water supply. In many cases, they use common toilets located outside their living spaces. 

Further, as per the orders, the inter-state movement of public transport buses would remain prohibited. However, taxis can ply through registration on COVID-19 e-Pass portal. Taxi drivers coming into the State for dropping would be exempted from quarantine if they return within 24 hours of the entry.

Also Read: Institutional Quarantine Mandatory for All Persons Coming from These 20 Cities/Districts of India

The State Executive Committee under Disaster Management Act, 2005 has partially amended orders issued on 2nd July 2020. As per the amendment, the medical colleges would remain closed for final year students from 15th July 2020 in the State. Similarly, Medical Training Institutions would also remain closed. 

As per the amendments, the condition of quarantine for the students and accompanying parents moving in and out of State for competitive examinations has been waived off, if they exist or re-enter the State or vice-versa within 72 hours.

The State Government has also decided that any person having been tested negative for COVID-19 through RT-PCR Test (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) by an ICMR accredited/approved laboratory not earlier than 72 hours at the time of entry would also be exempted from the requirement of quarantine.

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Himachal: Institutional Quarantine Mandatory for All Persons Coming from These 20 Cities/Districts of India

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HP Govt new list of high-load cities

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Health Department has revised the list of cities/areas/districts having high-load of COVID-19 cases. Earlier, the government had listed 13 such regions in various states. The updated list has mentioned 20 such cities/districts. All the mentioned places come under the red zone and an institutional quarantine is mandatory from anyone travelling from these areas to Himachal Pradesh.

The updated list includes the following:

  1. Mumbai, Maharashtra,
  2. Chennai, Tamil Nadu
  3. Thane, Maharashtra
  4. Pune, Maharashtra
  5. Hyderabad, Telangana
  6. Ahmedabad, Gujarat
  7. Delhi (All districts)
  8. Bengaluru (Urban), Karnataka
  9. Palghar, Maharashtra
  10. Kolkata, West Bengal
  11. Aurangabad, Bihar
  12. Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu
  13. Surat, Gujarat
  14. Raigad, Maharashtra
  15. Gurugram, Haryana
  16. Nashik, Maharashtra
  17. Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu
  18. Ranga Reddy, Telangana
  19. Madurai, Tamil Nadu
  20. Faridabad, Haryana

So far, India has reported over 9 lakh infections, which makes it the third worst-hit country after the United States (3,363,056) and Brazil (1,884,967).

The COVID-19 death tally for India was 23,727 till yesterday, 3,11,565 patients are still under treatment, and 5,71,460 have recovered. The rate of increase in the appearance of new COVID-19 cases continues to grow.

Despite the increasing rate and number of cases, Himachal Pradesh Government has opened the State borders for tourists and other visitors without obtaining any permission or E-Pass. All that one needs to enter Himachal and roam around without any restrictions is to present a COVID-19 negative certificate not older than 72 hours and a pre-booking of hotel/homestay for a minimum period of five nights.

The decision of the government to allow tourists amid a sharp rise in cases, both in the State and India, has invited scathed criticism. Even hoteliers in Shimla, Dharamshala, Manali etc. have decided to remain closed despite the government’s permission to resume operation. The SOPs issued by the state government are not acceptable to these hoteliers.

At the same time, relaxation given to migrant labourers in quarantine rules also appears to be backfiring as a large number of such labourers have been tested positive in the industrial hub – Baddi in Solan district. Yesterday, the district reported a record 69 COVID-19 cases, of which 59 were reported from a textile factory.

  

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