With Himachal Pradesh government allowing a five-hour relaxation, people gathered in large numbers outside shops in Shimla which opened after 43 days on Monday as the third phase of the lockdown began with the easing of certain restrictions. Government offices also opened with 30 per cent staff strength, but public transport remained shut.
In Shimla, curfew has been relaxed from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm, for the first time since March 23. Long queues were seen outside liquor vends, which too opened for the time after the curfew was imposed. At the stretch between CTO and Scandal Point, people, wearing masks, gathered in large numbers without maintaining social distancing norms to buy liquor.
One-way entry and exit of people were allowed on Mall road, Scandal Point and markets, and police have been deployed in large number to ensure that lockdown norms are observed.
However, some shopkeepers said they were yet to get customers.
“Opening the shop has been a relief, but there are no customers. Most of my patrons were daily wagers who are struggling to make their ends meet now,” said Rohit, who runs an electronics repair store at Shimla’s Cart Road.
Randhir Sood, who sells tea and snacks, said that he is eagerly waiting for a longer relaxation in the curfew so that he can get back to earning R.s 400-500 a day, which was his average before the lockdown.
Chirag Sharma, who runs a camping site in Kareri village near Dharamshala, said that once the restrictions were eased, he headed straight to the site to begin farming on his leased land, as he is not expecting any campers there for the next few months.
More brought home
The state government Monday brought in 1,239 more people stranded in Chandigarh and its satellite towns, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said. They were brought back in 49 buses. On Sunday, the state government had brought 1,314 people.
Thakur said that he has written to his Maharashtra counterpart Uddhav Thackeray to provide assistance in terms of food and medical care to people from Himachal who are stuck in that state. “We are receiving SOS calls from them and most of them want to return home to Himachal,” he said.
Meanwhile, opposition Congress alleged that there is chaos at Himachal Bhawan in Chandigarh’s Sector 28, the boarding point for the returnees, due to shortage of buses and many people are being forced to spend the night outside. “They should be given free lodging and food at the Bhawan, and not be charged the bus fare either. People are stuck in other states, too. They should be brought back after medical examination,” said Hari Krishan Himral, head of disaster cell of the HP Congress Committee.
No new case in 11 days
Himachal Pradesh has not reported any fresh COVID-19 case in the last 11 days and there is only one active case now, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) R D Dhiman said. The lone active case in the state is from Sirmaur district and he is being treated at Baddi.
A total of 41 positive cases have been reported in the state so far. Thirty-four have recovered, two died and four have been shifted to a private hospital outside Himachal Pradesh on their request. The lone active COVID-19 patient is being treated at a hospital in Baddi and will be tested on Tuesday.
No new coronavirus case in Himachal in 11 days
Shimla, May 4 (PTI): Himachal Pradesh has not reported any fresh COVID-19 case in the last 11 days, a senior state government official said on Monday.
So far, 41 coronavirus cases have been reported in the state and there is only one active case now, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) R D Dhiman said.
“Of the 247 samples sent for testing today, 136 tested negative for the infection whereas the report of the rest is awaited,” Dhiman said.
These tests are being conducted at five laboratories in the state at Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) in Shimla, Tanda’s Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College (RPGMC), Palampur’s Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT) in Kangra, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Government Medical College (SLBSGMC) Nerchowk in Mandi and Kasauli”s Central Research Institute (CRI) in Solan.
The lone active case in the state is from Sirmaur district and he is being treated at Katha’s ESIC in Baddi.
Eleven out of total 12 districts of the state are coronavirus-free now. These include Kangra, Una, Chamba, Hamirpur, Solan, Shimla, Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti, Bilaspur, Mandi and Kullu.
A total of 34 patients including 16 from Una district, six from Chamba, five from Solan, four from Kangra, two from Hamirpur and one from Sirmaur district have recovered so far.
Four patients were taken to a private hospital outside Himachal Pradesh.
Two people have died of COVID-19 in the state. The fatalities include a 70-year-old Delhi resident who had stayed at a guest house of a factory in Solan’s Baddi.
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