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MHA Guidelines: Schools, Cinema Halls and Other Facilities Allowed to Open from Oct 15

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Shimla-Amid community spread in India, the Central government has decided to allow more activities including opening of schools, cinema halls, theatres, swimming pools, entertainment parks, and business exhibitions on a conditional basis. The Ministry of Home Affairs, GoI, on September 30 issued a notification regarding the same. These facilities/services would be allowed only outside containment zones and in accordance with the SOPs, the notification said.

Lockdowns would remain in force in notified containment zones till October 31.

Allowing opening in a graded manner after October 15, the Centre government has left the decision to re-open the schools and coaching institutions on the state governments. However, attending schools physically would not be compulsory and would require a written consent of the parents. The students who want to attend the classes online can opt to not attend schools physically. The Centre has directed not to enforce attendance on the students. Further, the schools would have to follow the SOPs, which would be prepared by the state governments.

The higher institutes would be opened only for PhD and post-graduate students in the science and technology stream who requires laboratory/experimental works.

Cinemas, theatres, and multiplexes have been allowed to open from October 15 with upto 50 percent of their seating capacity. SOPs regarding the same would issued soon.

Business to Business Exhibitions have also been allowed from October 15. Swimming pools which are being used for training of sportspersons will be also be allowed to open.

Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations have already been permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons. In closed spaces, a maximum of 50 percent of the hall capacity will be allowed with a ceiling of 200 persons. Wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing, and provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitizers have been made mandatory.

Himachal Pradesh government is expected to release SOPs regarding the opening of these facilities soon. The opening of these activities in Himachal Pradesh would be a challenge as the state has just begun with community spread and heading towards peak level. By September 30 (till 9:00 PM), the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had reached 14976, of which 3400 were active. A total of 181 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Himachal Pradesh. A high portion of these casualties has been reported during the last two months. Yesterday, the state health department could only trace 229 new positive cases. Three more persons died yesterday.

It’s pertinent to consider that the fatality rate is rising but the number of traced COVID-19 cases has been falling in the daily COVID-19 Bulletin issued by the state health department. At the same time, the state government seems to be under-prepared to combat rising number of cases. The shortage of quarantine facilities is one of the these challenges. Himachal Watcher had yesterday covered a similar issued reported from Kaithu market in Shimla city. (Watch the video below)

View the Complete MHA Notification Issued on September 30, 2020

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal: 80% Voter Turnout in 2nd Phase of Panchayat Polls

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Second phase of Panchayat elections in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Election Commission informed that the elections for 1208 Gram Panchayats were held today in the second phase in which around 80 percent polling was registered.

Overall, 75 COVID-19 patients and persons in isolation cast their votes as per the standard operating procedures.

The highest polling has been registered in Nandpur Gram Panchayat of Nalagarh developmental block of Solan district where the voter turnout was reported to be 96 percent.

The poll was held peacefully and there was no report of any untoward incident in the state. The counting of votes for Pradhan, Up-Pradhan and members was under the process and the results were awaited till late evening. The counting of votes for Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti will be held on 22 January 2021 at block headquarters.

Election-related process and results have been uploaded for the general public on sechimachal.nic.in.

The election for third and final phase for 1137 Panchayats would be held on 21 January 2021.

The first phase of elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions in Himachal Pradesh was held in 1228 Gram Panchayats on January 17, 2021. The overall polling percentage in the first phase was reported to 77.50%.

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Bird Flu Confirmed in Dead Poultry Dumped Near Himachal Borders, Ban on Poultry Products Extended   

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Himachal Pradesh Extends Ban on poultry

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government has temporarily extended the ban on entry of poultry and poultry products into the State from neighbouring states for one more week. A notification to this regard was issued on January 18, 2021.

 The Government said that during the past few days, there had been incidences of dumping of dead poultry in the border areas of the State. Samples were collected from these dead birds, and disposed of the remaining birds as per protocol, it said. NIHSAD Lab, Bhopal, has confirmed Avian Influenza-H5N8 in the dumped birds.

Hundreds of dead poultry birds were found dumped along the Parwanoo-Solan stretch on the National Highway. The police was yet to identify culprits responsible.

However, the State Government said that the Flu has not been detected in the local poultry.

The State Government said that a “Bird Flu” outbreak was notified on January 6, 2021, in Pong Dam wetland of district Kangra. The count for migratory bird death due to the Flu had mounted to 4936 till January 18, 2021. On January 17, only 21 migratory birds died in the Pong Dam wetland area.

The State Government said a sharp decline was reported in death of migratory birds due to avian influenza outbreak in the Pong dam lake wildlife sanctuary.

Ten Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) of Wildlife Wing would continue to work in the wetland for collection and safe disposal of dead birds as per protocol till no mortality is recorded. 

Till January 18, 2021 outbreaks of Avian Influenza have been confirmed in 5 States for poultry birds and in 9 States for crows, migratory and wild bird.

Culling of poultry birds had to be taken in all the affected epicentres including CPDO, Mumbai. Culling operation of poultry in Haryana was also underway. The outbreak has is causing losses worth crores to poultry farmers. 

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447 Cases of Adverse Effect Including 3 in Himachal Reported Post COVID-19 Vaccination

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Shimla– Amid skepticism over the COVID-19 vaccination, India has reported over 400 cases of adverse effect post-vaccination, informed the Ministry of Health. To be more specific, a total of 447 Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFIs) were reported on 16th Jan & 17th Jan’21.

Out of these, three required hospitalization. Of these, one was discharged from Northern Railway Hospital Delhi within 24 hours; one was discharged from AIIMS Delhi, and one is under observation in AIIMS Rishikesh and is being monitored.

Most of the AEFIs reported so far are minor like Fever, Headache, Nausea etc.

In Himachal Pradesh, about three cases of AEFIs were reported on day 1 of vaccination drive. These were reported from Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College Tanda, Kangra, Civil Hospital Paonta Sahib, and Maharishi Markandeshwar University Medical College, Solan.

In these cases, symptoms reported included dizziness, anxiety, nausea and shivering and persons recovered after management as per protocol, it was informed.

In Himachal, 2,499 health care workers were to be administered dose through 27 identified sites in the State on January 16. However, only 1535 healthcare workers could be vaccinated on the first day. It was 61 percent of this set target. The second round would be held today.  

Two types of COVID-19 vaccines have been supplied for the vaccination drive. These include Covishield vaccine (made by Serum Institute of India Ltd) that has been supplied to all States/UTs.

The second is Covaxin vaccine (made by Bharat Biotech International Ltd) that has been supplied to 12 States.

An Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) is any unexpected medical occurrence which follows immunization. It may not be related to the vaccine or vaccination process. The Ministry had laid down protocols for reporting, immediate case management at vaccination session site, transportation and hospitalization and further care of such cases. Protocols are also in place for systematic investigation and causality assessment of serious AEFIs, the Ministry said.

India has vaccinated the highest number of persons on Day1 under its COVID19 vaccination program, the world’s largest such exercise.

Total of 2,24,301 beneficiaries have been vaccinated till today as per the provisional report.

The second day of the massive countrywide COVID-19 vaccination program was also conducted successfully. A total of 553 sessions were held in six States. As many as 17,072 beneficiaries were vaccinated on Day2, as per the provisional reports.

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