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Coronavirus: Himachal Shuts All Educational Institutes, Restriction on Public Gatherings, Celebration of Fairs, Festivals

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Schools Shut Down in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-While the number of persons infected with Novel Coronavirus in India has reached 82 with two deaths, Himachal Pradesh has once again taken a sigh of relief as test report of another suspected case has been confirmed to be negative. The suspected case was admitted to the Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, on Thursday.

The State has not reported any positive case yet, however, circulars have been issued to take preventive measures, especially prevention of any event or activity that is likely to cause huge public gatherings.

The Government of Himachal Pradesh had earlier on Friday ordered restriction on all sort of events in educational institutes till April 15, 2020, as a precaution against the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Yesterday, the Education Minister, Suresh Bhardwaj, had confirmed receiving advisory from the Centre regarding preventive measures to be followed during the period of restriction.

Also Read: How to Home Quarantine 

Today, the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur confirmed that a decision has been taken to keep all government and private schools, play schools, Anganwadis and colleges closed till March 31, 2020,  except for the ongoing examinations.

“There have been reported cases in all the neighbouring states like Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana and Punjab, and, in view of this, for the better enforcement of social distancing measures to prevent community transmissions of the virus, it has been advised by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare that the mass gathering may be avoided or possibly be postponed till the disease spread is contained,”

the notification issued on March 14, 2020.

“All educational institutes including schools, colleges, universities, technical and vocational training institutes, ITI’s Polytechnic, engineering colleges, medical colleges, paramedical training institutes, Anganwadi’s, Creches, pre-nursery schools etc. in the public as well as private sector shall remain closed till March 31, 2020,”

the notification said.  

Similarly, teaching and other group activities in the boarding schools will remain suspended till March 31.

Further, because of forthcoming Navratras and other fairs, the notification said has mentioned directions that adequate number of surveillance personals should be deployed in and around temple premises, adequate hand-washing facilities including availability of soap should be ensured.

The district administrations have been directed to display adequate IEC material at all temples and repeated advisories should be issued advising pubic to refrain from visiting such places unless there are compelling reasons to do so.

Further district administrations have been directed to regulate the entry of people to temple premises to check any congregation of devotees at any spot.

He said over 500 persons have returned to Himachal from foreign countries but none of them has been tested positive so far.

Further, restrictions have been imposed on organization of tournaments, religious events, public celebrations of festivals and fairs to prevent gathering of crowds.

The State Government has also sealed the Lahaul-Spiti-Nepal border to check entry of Nepalese into the district. Two checkpoints have been established for scanning of those who would approach the border, said Agricultural Minister, Ram Lal Markanda.

The Government has also postponed the much-awaited International Paragliding Pre-World Cup that was scheduled to be held during March-April in the Kangra district.  Over 120 paragliders from over 25 countries were to take part in this tournament. The Director of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, confirmed that the tournament will be held in October this year.

COVID-19 is haunting the tourist/hospitality industry as the tourist season is about to begin in April.

The number confirmed COVID-19 cases in India has reached 82. Two deaths have been reported. Both victims were elderly persons, one a 76-year-old Karnataka man and another a 68-year-old woman in West Delhi.

Meanwhile, the worldwide death toll due to coronavirus pandemic has risen to 5,000 with 140,000, positive cases. The numbers are continuously rising in some of the worst-hit countries. In Italy, the number of positive cases was touching 18,000 marks with some 1,266 deaths.

On March 13, 2020, US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the pandemic as the number of positive cases reached over 2,000 with 48 deaths. According to WHO, Europe has become the epicentre for COVID-19.

Misc News/Press Release

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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Shocker for Himachal as Ex-CBI Chief & Governor Ashwani Kumar Found Dead at His Shimla Residence

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Himachal IPS Officer Ashwani Kumar found deat in shimla

Shimla-Ashwani Kumar – 1973 IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre who had served as the Director-General of HP Police (2006-2008) and CBI chief (August 2008 to November 2010), and was later appointed the Governor of Nagaland in 2013-was found dead at his residence in Shimla on Wednesday evening. The news came as a shocker as Kumar was considered as one of India’s finest and honest officers.

Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Mohit Chawala, in statement to news agencies, confirmed the report. According to the initial report, he reportedly hanged himself and ended his life. However, no formal statement was issued regarding the suicide. According to the police, a suicide note was also recovered from the spot. However, the note was yet to be verified.

Kumar was a well known name as he had dealt with famous cases including that of Arushi Talwar murder and fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which current Home Minister Amit Shah was arrested in 2010.

He was one of the first appointees made to resign from the post of Governor, Nagaland, as soon as the current ruling party came into power in 2014. He also remained Governor of Manipur for a short period of time. After his retirement, Kumar was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of a private university in Shimla.

The officials who have served under Aswani Kumar have expressed shock over his demise in such a manner. 

Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, and a team of medical staff was rushed to the spot. More details are awaited as the district police have not issued any formal statement regarding the incident.

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