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Himachal: COVID-19 Case Tally Crosses 2500 Mark, Protest at HP Secretariat Over Not Sealing Building, Testing Employees

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HP Secretariat corona cases protest

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh on July 30, 2020, reported 103 new confirmed COVID-19 cases from different districts. According to the Health Department’s COVID-19 Bulletin for July 30 (9 PM), the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state had jumped to 2506, of which 1090 are active.  Of these, 1387 have recovered and 12 have died.

The highest number of cases was reported from Solan (34), followed by Sirmaur (24), Kangra (9), Shimla (7) Una (4), Kullu (2), Bilaspur (1), Chamba (1).

There is no respite from the spurt in cases in BBN – the industrial area of Solan that reported 32 cases. Three policemen and an ambulance driver also tested positive in the district.

In Sirmaur district, Nahan reported 22 cases. All persons were said to be contacts of COVID-19 positive persons.

In Shimla, three more persons of a family tested positive for COVID-19. They had come in contact with a woman who had tested positive a couple of days ago. Other cases include a person from Totu area and two SSB jawans.

District-wise, so far, Solan has reported the highest 628 cases, followed by Kangra (451), Sirmaur (327), Hamirpur (304), Una (198), Shimla (165), Mandi (157), Chamba (103), Bilaspur (88), Kinnaur (45), and Kullu (35). Lahaul-Spiti continues to be the least affected district with only four confirmed cases none of which are active. Currently, the district is COVID-19 free.

Staff Stage Protest at HP Secretariat, Demand Sealing Building, Testing All Employees

Employees of the State Secretariat on Thursday staged a protest outside the gate over their demand to seal the building after three confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported at the Secretariat. The employees refused to enter the building and said that the building was not sealed despite the appearance of three cases. They demanded that all employees of the Secretariat should be tested.

The first case was reported when the Deputy Secretary to Chief Minister contracted the infection from a leader of Bharatiya Janata Party who had visited the Secretariat and some other places including IGMC Shimla and the State High Court. Later a peon tested positive, and on Wednesday a clerk was found to be COVID-19 positive. Several other persons in Mandi district contracted the infection from the same leader.

The employees said that they have been reaching the  administration with their request to seal the building and test all employees but they are being ignored. They fear this negligence could lead to an explosion in case at the Secretariat, as well as, in Shimla.

The staff alleged the administration of discrimination in following the protocol regarding sealing and sanitizing the building/area where COVID-19 cases are found. They alleged that the administration did not even seal the floor on which the first case was reported. Now, three cases have been reported but still the administration hasn’t sealed the building. Employees weren’t quarantined and no samples were taken, they alleged. The clerk who tested positive on Wednesday was coming to office till July 27 and had been visiting various branches, which is concerning, they said. They had demanded that all employees should be tested and the building should be sealed.  

 But at the same time, the employees were seen violating social distancing norm during the protest.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

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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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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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