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Himachal: Temples, Hotels, Private Bus Services to Remain Closed for Now

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Himachal Pradesh Temples Opening Postponed

Shimla-Temples and religious places in Himachal Pradesh will remain closed for now as the State Government and the District Administrations are yet to issue any Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Though the centre has issued SOPs, Himachal has entrusted Deputy Commissioners to take a decision regarding re-opening of temples. Most of the temples in the State are under the Deputy Commissioners of the districts.

Himachal Pradesh – “Devbhoomi”- has a plethora of temples and places of religious importance like Tibetan Monastery and the abode of Tibetian spiritual leader Dalai Lama. The income of these temples plays a considerable role in the economy of the State. There are towns and regions which financially depend on visitors/pilgrims. A large number of visitors from outside the State, especially from Haryana, Chandigarh, Punjab and Delhi, West Bengal visit these temples or arrive for pilgrimage.

But from March 17 – the day temples were shut down and tourists were prohibited to enter the State-there is no income. Salaries of priests and others employed at these temples are paid from their income.   

Also, the Language, Art and Culture Department of Himachal Pradesh Government is supposed to issue guidelines in this regard.

So far, DCs have not issued any notification in this regard and are of the view that the staff at temples, shopkeepers around these temples and other traders need to be trained and sensitized to ensure safety.

Though the State had announced re-opening temples and hotels and restaurants from June 8 for only residents of Himachal Pradesh, it would require a great amount of effort from the district administration to filter visitors and ensuring that no person from outside the State is lining up at temples. The State borders are open for movement of traffic and a large number of people have already returned and would continue to return to their native places in the State for a while.

With the return of these people, the State has witnessed a big spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. The state has reported over 410 cases so far. Of this total, over 350 cases have been reported May 3, 2020, onwards – the day boarders of the State were opened for returnees. The cases continue to rise with several cases being reported every day.

Therefore, the State Government need to be very careful while opening temples. Lack of social distancing, screening, sanitizations of temples, proper preventive measures to save temple staff and shopkeepers could turn temples into hotspots of COVID-19 spread within no time.

“We are in no hurry to open the temples to the public. We will take a call at an appropriate time once all precautions are put in place and staff at the temples are fully trained for implementation of the guidelines,”

said Deputy Commissioner Kangra Rakesh Prajapati.

Kangra, Una, Hamirpur and Bilaspur districts have famous temples and shrines which the pilgrims from all over the country especially Haryana, Punjab and UP visit every year.

Kangra district alone receives lakhs of pilgrims and visitors every year as it houses famous temples like Jawalamukhi, Chamunda Devi, Bagalamukhi, Brijeshwari etc. Dharamshala is famous for its Monastery and because of the residence of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.  

“Once we open the access of the public to the temples, it will be difficult to differentiate between the locals and those reaching the temples from outside as a lot of people have already come to their homes from outside during the lockdown,”

said Prajapati.

To implement SOPs, the District Administrations in these districts are likely to conduct training of staff, priests, guards and shopkeepers around the temples during the current week. There is a possibility that some of the temples would be opened for the people of the State for paying obeisance.

However, religious gathering and events would remain prohibited.

Hotel and Restaurant Owners Want to Remain Closed

The hospitality industry, which is worst hit due to the lockdown in wake of the corona pandemic, is also reluctant in opening hotels and restaurants. Hoteliers were asked to re-open from June 8, but they declined to do so. Various associations of hoteliers from various districts had held a video conference with the State Government last week.

Also Read:‘Quarantine Tourism’ and Opening Hotels in Himachal Bad Idea: Hotel Associations

They had told the Government that before the hotels could be opened, the staff would need to be trained properly, which would take time. Also, as the entry of tourists is still prohibited, the hoteliers are preferring to remain closed.

Private Operators Remain off the Roads

The State Government had decided to re-open public transport after the end of phase three of the lockdown, and the HRTC had resumed the services on a conditional basis like plying with only 60 per cent of seat capacity, regular sanitization before and after every tour, ensuring social distancing etc. However, private operators have declined to run buses and demanded a hike in fares in order to start operating at 60 percent passenger capacity.  

Also Read: Private Bus Operators in Himachal Refuse to Start Operating from June 1 Unless Govt Provides Relief

 

 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Claims 13 Lives as State Reports Over 900 Cases in 24 Hours

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 report april 14

Shimla- COVID-19 claimed 13 more lives in Himachal Pradesh as the state recorded 925 new cases in 24 hours. According to the latest update released by the State health department, Kangra district reported the highest 178 cases, followed by Solan (143), Mandi (114), and Shimla (104). 

As a matter of concern, 48 students of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya School, Sarol, in Chamba district also tested positive, creating a stir in the region. Samples of the staff were also taken following it. The school was declared as a containment zone. 

Find more district-wise details of daily cases below:

Himachal Pradesh Daily covid-19 deaths apri 14, 2021

Kangra district also reported the highest six COVID-19 deaths, followed by Shimla (3), Mandi (2), and Una (2). The deceased were aged between 42 – 84 years and included eight females and five males. Find the details of the deceased below:

Himachal Pradesh daily covid-19 cases on april 14, 2021

The case and death tallies in the state have now jumped to 72,319 and 1135 respectively.

While speaking to the media today, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur admitted that the surge in cases is rising across the nation, but maintained that there were no plans to impose a lockdown in the state so far.  

The state government, however, today decided to postpone the ongoing examinations for undergraduate classes and 10 and 12 classes of the HP Board of School Education.

 

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Himachal: Daily New COVID-19 Cases Crosses 1000 Mark, State Govt Directs Admins & Police to Show Strictness in Implementing SOPs

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Himachal Pradesh daily COVID-19 update april 12

Shimla– Reeling under the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Himachal Pradesh continues to report a huge surge in daily new cases and fatalities. On Monday, the state recorded 1089 cases – the highest in 24 hours this year. Nine more people succumbed to the infection, taking the COVID-19 death tally to 1111. Highest three deaths were reported from Una district, followed by Mandi (3).  View more details on fatalities below:

covid-19 deaths

Kangra district reported the highest 249 cases, followed by Solan (166), and Lahaul-Spiti (114). Find more district-wise details below:

himachal pradesh covid-19 surge

Source: HP NHM

Today’s cases also include former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Virbhadra Singh, who tested positive. Earlier, his son Vikramaditya had also tested positive for COVID-19. Pertinent to mention that Vikramaditya Singh had campaigned in the Municipal Corporation elections that were concluded on April 7. 

Further, 18 cases were reported from Pine Grove School, Solan. 

The state government, which had been mostly showing a casual approach towards the surge since the beginning of the second wave of the pandemic, is now coming hard on it in its review meetings.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is now asking elected representatives of the local bodies to ensure that the people strictly follow the SoPs regarding temples and marriages.  The PRI members are being directed to motivate and advise the old people, those with co-morbidity to avoid going to public places as they are most prone to this virus.

“Such persons must be reverse quarantined meaning that their movement outside their houses should be minimized to the extent possible,” Chief Minister today said.

Yesterday the state government had made it mandatory for people arriving from seven high load states to carry RT-PCR negative report. The decision would apply from April 16 onwards, the government had decided.  However, he had added, that the state would remain open for tourists.

Chief Minister has asked the representatives of the PRI to keep an eye on the people visiting from other State, particularly from the high load states.

“As far as possible such people must be asked to remain in home quarantine for 10 to 14 days and getting themselves tested for COVID-19 and should not mix with the general public of the area,” he said.

The Transport Department was directed to ensure the sanitization of buses and other public transport.  Shopkeepers were told to strictly follow the ‘No Mask, No Service’ policy. Private bus operators were also asked to properly sanitize their buses and also ensure plying buses without overcrowding.

District administrations were asked to ensure that social functions such as marriages etc. strictly follow the maximum limit prescribed for such events.

Chief Minister said that action if required could be taken against the violators.

The District administration of Kullu district was directed to ensure that all the tourists visiting the district strictly follow SoPs issued from time to time. He told the administration that all the guidelines need to be followed and implemented strictly.

He said that the Ayurveda Department must also provide ‘kada’ to the patients under home isolation. The Police Department was directed to ensure that no casualness be adopted by the tourists, particularly in tourist spots such as Manikaran, Kasol, Manali etc.    

Deputy Commissioner Mandi Rugved Thakur, informed that 1,33,878 total sample done in the district, active cases were 443 and positivity ratio was 8.25 percent and fatality rate 1.2 percent. He said that 51 per cent cases in the district were from urban areas.

 

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HP Govt Makes RT-PCR Negative Report Mandatory for People Arriving from Seven States

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entry of tourists in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Tourist movement to Himachal Pradesh is likely to get hit during the peak season as the state government has made it mandatory for people of seven high load states viz. Punjab, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh need to carry 72-hour prior RT-PCR negative report while visiting the State. The restriction would apply after April 16th.

The decision came after Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, who had been insisting that there would be no restriction on tourist movement to avert economic losses to the tourism industry, held a review meeting amid a massive surge in new cases and deaths.  

The state government has decided to allow tourists to visit the State, but at the same time, hotel owners and tourists should strictly adhere to the SoPs, Chief Minister said.

“The virus was spreading at a fast pace which was the biggest concern. During the last 45 days, the State has reported 10,690 new covid cases. 120 deaths were reported in the State during the last 45 days,” he said.

Over 900 new cases with 12 fatalities were reported on Saturday only.  On Sunday, according to the Health Department’s daily update, the state recorded 512 new cases. 

Pertinent to mention that Maharastra, Delhi and a few other states had been suggesting that a complete lockdown could be imposed if the high rate of resurgence continued in the coming days.

Though the Chief Minister had been maintaining that lockdown would be the last resort, the tone appears to be changing with the worsening of the COVID-19 situation.

Further, laying stress on twin strategy for testing, tracing and treatment with effective surveillance of micro containment zones, Chief Minister said that greater emphasis must also be laid on RT-PCR tests to achieve the target of 70 percent RT-PCR tests.

He said that the State Health Department must also take steps to increase bed capacity to meet out any eventuality.

Meanwhile, no restriction has been put on the devotees visiting various temples in the State during the Navratri festival.

The government said no overcrowding would be allowed in buses and other public transport and private vehicles. Wearing face masks even in vehicles must be enforced strictly.

Chief Minister, who faced widespread criticism over violation of SOPs during the political campaigning for elections to the Municipal Corporations, blamed laxity shown by the people for a sharp resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the State.  

 

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