Himachal Pradesh broke its clean streak of 12 days Monday after a 30-year-old man who had returned home from Delhi tested positive for coronavirus. The patient had returned to his village in Jogindernagar subdivision of Mandi district along with three other people and a driver last week, DGP SR Mardi said.
“There were five people in the taxi, which was a violation of rules as only one person along with a driver were allowed at that time,” he said.
Moreover, the DGP said, the patient was working in a company in Noida and not stranded there. “The relaxation in movement of stranded people does not include people who are working elsewhere. It only refers to those who got stranded at a place immediately before the lockdown,” he said.
One of the persons accompanying him belongs to the same village while the others are from Chauntra and Baijnath. All of them have been placed under institutional quarantine and their samples taken for testing, an official said.
At a press conference in Shimla, state Congress president Kuldeep Singh Rathore said that people who were returning from other states are not being adequately screened. He added that only 0.1 per cent of the state’s population has been tested so far, and the claims of the government regarding having screened the entire population are not true.
Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on Tuesday directed district-level officials to effectively ensure that home quarantine and social distancing norms were followed by those who have returned from other states. He said that a new programme called ‘Nigah’ would be launched by the state in which health workers would visit houses of the returnees and sensitise them regarding social distancing. He also asked district magistrates to issue passes to those coming from outside the state in a staggered manner so that there is less crowding at the entry points.
More than 80,000 people have entered to Himachal after the state government allowed entry on April 26, and most of them are under home quarantine. In Chamba, some people protested after they were placed under institutional quarantine, the police said.
DGP Mardi said that a couple from Shimla who went back to their village in Kinnaur were stopped by the locals who barred their entry, forcing them to take shelter at a police officer’s house.