The Coronavirus cases in India and abroad seem to be on a constant rise with no signs of relief. As the blog is being written, the total confirmed cases in India have reached to 753 with 668 active cases, 67 recovered cases and 18 deaths. Himachal Pradesh has reported three positive cases till date with two active cases and one death. In the midst of the outbreak, the state government has taken a number of precautionary measures to check the spread and ensure the smooth supply of essential commodities in the wake of 21-day lockdown.
A total of 2186 people with a foreign travel history are under surveillance from the last 28 days. All three confirmed cases have been reported from the Kangra district of the state. Government is monitoring the entire district and have kept its people under strict surveillance:
The government has also imposed a curfew in all the 12 districts of the state from 24 March for an indefinite time period. CM Jai Ram Thakur stated while imposing curfew that “people were moving on the roads despite the restrictions in place and the government is left with no option but to impose curfew.” The government has constituted district level coordination committees for effective coordination with district administration in order to tackle any issue and inconvenience faced by the general public in the midst of the curfew and ensure regular supply of daily needs.
The government has constituted a State Executive Committee under the provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005 and it has held ten meetings so far under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary on the outbreak. The committee is also reviewing the preparations that are in place to tackle the virus. The supply of essential commodities are being taken seriously in order to avoid panic purchasing by the people. An adequate supply of LPG is also being ensured by the state officials.
In another development, the state government has ordered to defer and extend the date of the superannuation of all medical officers, paramedical staff and faculty members working in the health department and medical institutes who were due to retire on 31 March, 30 April, 31 May and 30 June. The step has been taken to ensure and strengthen the availability of human resources and manpower in various medical colleges and institutes in the state.
In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, a total of Rs 2.27 crore of fund has been provided by all four MPs of the state which is being utilized by the state government to purchase masks, sanitizers, ventilators, gloves and other essential protective equipment for the frontline workers.
The Times of India reported that for the first time in the state the shrines are empty during the beginning of the Navratris. The Chaitra Navratra has started from 26 March and will conclude on 2 April. The local administration has further ordered the closure of all shrines with restricted entries of the priests for the daily prayers. It is further reported that arrangements for the live streaming of any special prayer are being made through social media platforms.
Even though the state is under curfew, people are not in a mood to stay at home. On the very first day, more than 50 FIRs were registered against curfew violators from the different parts of the state. The state leadership is time and again requesting the people to stay at home. As most of the cases are reported from the Kangra district, the officials have decided that petrol pumps will not give fuel to any private vehicles. It was hailed as a strong move to stop the movement of the people across the district. The distribution of newspapers was also banned in the area.
(Author is working with the Research and Communications team at SDC Foundation. He tweets at stoic_gautamkr)