HIMACHAL PRADESH Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Thursday said that the spike in Covid cases in the state in recent weeks is not worrisome as all those who have returned from outside have been placed in quarantine. Around 1.92 lakh residents stranded or working in other parts of the country have returned home in the last one and a half months, he said.
There are currently 182 active Covid cases in the state, up from one patient in early May, while the total number of confirmed cases is 458. In a video conference with district-level officials, Thakur said people need not worry about the surge in cases as it has been caused by returnees who were already under quarantine at the time of detection. He directed officials to trace and test each new returnee and strictly adhere to the SOPs regarding entry of people into the state. ASHA and anganwadi workers, panchayat members and health workers must keep a vigil on people quarantined at home, he added.
Preparations for apple harvest season Thakur also discussed preparations by apple-growing districts ahead of the fruit’s harvest season. Apple, the mainstay of the state’s horticultural economy, accounts for more than 70 per cent of the total fruit production in the state. In 2019-20, the state produced 6.64 lakh metric tonnes of the crop till December. This year, apple growers are facing shortage of labour due to absence of seasonal labourers from Nepal who generally arrive here during the harvest season. The CM asked officials to ensure availability of labourers, particularly in the apple belts, while at the same time ensuring that those coming from outside the state are screened and quarantined if necessary. He also discussed the availability of labour in mango-growing areas in the lower regions of the state.
BOX: 7 new cases
Shimla: Seven people tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Himachal Pradesh on Thursday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 459, an official said. Three fresh cases were reported from Una district and two each from Solan and Chamba districts, Special Secretary (Health) Nipun Jindal said. In Solan district, a truck driver from Nalagarh, has been quarantined in his vehicle, while a former village panchayat pradhan from Baddi area tested positive for the infection, a district official said. In Chamba, a 23-year-old man from Kehal Bakan village and a 25-year-old woman from Salooni tested positive. The man was home quarantined since his return from Gurgaon in Haryana on June 2 and the woman was institutionally quarantined at Banikhet since she came back from Delhi on May 28, a Chamba district official said. Their samples were taken on Wednesday and they tested positive early in the morning, Jindal said. Twenty-two patients — seven in Hamirpur and one in Solan have recovered from the disease, he said.