HIMACHAL PRADESH reported its first two COVID-19 cases on Friday after a man, 32, and a woman, 63, placed in isolation in Kangra tested positive for the virus.
“They were found positive at the first stage but it needs to be confirmed by the National Institute of Virology, Pune,” said Dr Sonam Negi, state surveillance officer of communicable diseases, adding that one of them had recently returned from Abu Dhabi, while the other patient had returned from Singapore. They are currently in isolation at the Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College in Tanda.
Kangra DC Rakesh Prajapati said the two patients were “forcefully” put in isolation on Wednesday after district authorities learnt that they had traveled to high-risk countries. “We’re now trying to trace all those people who may have come in contact with them and efforts are on to quarantine their relatives and neighbours,” he added.
The results of three other samples are awaited by the health authorities, while nine samples have tested negative so far in the state.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Friday said that interstate HRTC bus services have been reduced to 10 per cent and buses would only ply to places such as Delhi, Chandigarh and Haridwar. Intrastate bus services of both HRTC and private buses would be reduced by 50 per cent and no bus would be allowed to carry more than 70 per cent capacity.
Officials said no buses will ply in the state on Sunday, keeping in view the ‘Janata Curfew’. Also, all interstate contract carriage has been suspended from Friday mignight till further orders.
Railway officials said all trains on the Kalka-Shimla line have been suspended from Saturday till further notice.
The government has also decided to postpone the date of payment of various public utility bills such as electricity and water without any extra charges.
State government authorities have issued an appeal to the residents to follow the curfew guidelines through all types of media, and reached out to various associations (Beopar mandals, RWAs, hotel associations etc), political parties and local bodies (panchayats, mahila mandals) to spread the message in their respective areas.