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Friday, September 18, 2020

Why Covid made noise in Shimla: it got sealed buildings, institutions that matter

ITBP personnel joining duty after leave, migrants coming here for work, and people returning home from other states have made up the bulk of these cases, and most of them were already under quarantine.

Written by Gagandeep Singh Dhillon | Shimla | Updated: July 30, 2020 8:56:41 am
himachal pradesh coronavirus cases, coronavirus news, covid news himachal, himachal dgp coronavirus To estimate epidemic growth, the researchers compared the number of cases on March 27 with those on March 20. EXpress Photo by Pradeep Kumar

Though Shimla has remained comparatively less affected by Covid-19 in comparison to some other districts in Himachal, the novel coronavirus made the rounds of several prominent institutions in the capital town this month, including the chief minister’s office, the high court and the university among others.

The virus made a late entry into Shimla – the first case was reported on May 7 – and most of the 150-odd cases confirmed here so far were reported this month. ITBP personnel joining duty after leave, migrants coming here for work, and people returning home from other states have made up the bulk of these cases, and most of them were already under quarantine.

However, the patients also include some employees of the highest offices of the state. Last Wednesday, a deputy secretary in the chief minister’s office caught the infection, following which the office was closed and those working there, including Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, went into quarantine. Thakur’s samples tested negative and after around a week of working digitally from home, he has started stepping out, attending a BJP function on Wednesday at the heritage Hotel Peterhoff where the newly appointed party state president Suresh Kashyap assumed charge of his post. The CMO has also resumed functioning with a limited number of employees.

The High Court of Himachal Pradesh also remained closed for two days last week, after an additional advocate general and another employee got infected.

Interestingly, the patients from both the high court and the CMO are believed to have contracted the disease from the same person, a man from Bagsiad who met them in their offices while on a visit to Shimla earlier this month.

Besides these two offices, the patient from Bagsiad also visited the Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital, one of the two premier hospitals of the state, and met the college principal and the hospital’s senior medical superintendent, forcing them to quarantine themselves.

Meanwhile, the MBA department of the Himachal Pradesh University at Summerhill was closed and restrictions imposed on the entry of visitors to the campus after an employee tested positive this past weekend. The heritage Railway Board Building on the Mall Road, which houses several central government offices including those of the passport office and the CBI, was also closed after an income tax department employee tested positive during the weekend. The building has since been opened except the income tax office.

An area near the Raj Bhawan (Governor House) was sealed Sunday after a resident tested positive. The iconic Indian Coffee House on the Mall Road was also closed for a day after an employee returning from Delhi was found to have skipped Covid testing and quarantine.
There are currently 88 active cases in the district and a total of 153 confirmed cases so far, up from 40 cases a month ago. No patient from the district has died due to the disease. At least 24 of the confirmed cases include ITBP personnel quarantined at Jeori in Rampur, while 18 other cases were reported from an apple orchard in a Rohru village following the arrival of migrant workers.

Institutional quarantine compulsory for migrant workers

The Shimla district administration on Wednesday made institutional quarantine compulsory for workers coming to the state from outside. DC Amit Kashyap said that they will be allowed to proceed to their work sites only after a negative Covid report following seven days of quarantine. He said that their employers will have to bear the costs of the quarantine facility and the workers will have to observe quarantine even at work, that is they will not be allowed to step out of the orchards, farms, project site etc.

State covid tally

34 new cases were reported from Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday at the time of filing of this report, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 2,365. There are 1,012 active cases in the state. The most affected districts include Solan with 569 cases, Kangra with 441 cases, Hamirpur with 304 cases, and Sirmaur with 302 cases.

HP records 34 new COVID-19 cases

The state Wednesday recorded 34 new cases, taking the infection tally to 2,365. There are now 1,012 active cases in the state. The virus has so far claimed 13 lives in the state, while 1,323 people have recovered from the infection and 15 migrated out of the state.
The most affected districts include Solan with 569 cases, Kangra with 441 cases, Hamirpur with 304 cases, and Sirmaur with 302 cases.

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