Published: April 27, 2020 10:56:52 pm
Himachal Pradesh has not reported any new positive case of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the last five days, even as several patients recovered from the infection in the state that has now only 10 active cases. This is the longest period without a new case since April 2. The reports of samples collected Monday were still awaited at the time of filing of this report.
The state had last reported a positive case on April 22, after a gap of three days. The biggest spike in cases in Himachal was observed on April 7, when nine cases were reported from Una.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur earlier in the day informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi that six of the total 12 districts of the state fall under ‘green zone’ as not even a single case of coronavirus has been reported there. He added that COVID-19 testing ratio in the state is 700 per million population, one of the highest in the country.
Thakur gave the information during the PM’s video conference with chief ministers to discuss the situation arising due to COVID-19 in the country, which is under a 40-day lockdown since March 25 to contain the pandemic.
PM lauds state
As per a government statement, the prime minister lauded the state for effective implementation of Active Case Finding (ACF) campaign which has helped in screening the entire population of the state for any influenza like illness (ILI) symptoms. He urged all states to follow Himachal Pradesh in this initiative to combat the pandemic of novel coronavirus.
Thakur apprised the PM that the 70 lakh population of the state was checked for ILI under the ACF campaign. “All ILI patients are being tested for COVID-19. Various teams of 16,000 officials, including ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers, paramedics and police, visit door-to-door under the campaign,” he added.
The CM said lockdown should continue beyond May 3, but the states should be allowed to resume economic activities particularly in the green zones. Thakur urged Modi to provide adequate number of ventilators to the state and also ensure smooth supplies of raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry, particularly to the MSMEs which make up 80 per cent of the pharmaceutical sector in the state, the statement said.
Thakur also said that a task force has been constituted to restart economic activities in Himachal. “The pandemic has ruined the tourism industry. There also an urgent need to ensure the supply of carton boxes and smooth transportation of the apple crop, one of the mainstays of the economy,” he said.
Many return home
Thousands of people have returned to Himachal Pradesh beginning Sunday in private vehicles after the state government allowed the entry of those stranded outside. Residents stuck outside can apply online to their respective district magistrates for one-time journey passes.
Long queues were witnessed at the Mehatpur and Asha Devi entry points in Una district after the government relaxed the inter-state movement.
All people entering the state were medically examined at the border checkpoints and asked to observe home quarantine after reaching their destinations. Thakur also asked all deputy commissioners to make it mandatory for the people entering the state to download the Aarogya Setu mobile app.
Officials said that people entering without passes will be placed under Institutional quarantine for 28 days.
The state government has also decided to transport labourers from Jammu & Kashmir stranded in the state till the Lakhanpur barrier in Jammu in a phased manner, while more than a hundred Himachali students have already been brought from Kota in Rajasthan in nine HRTC buses.
Congress MLA Vikramaditya Singh said that a special Assembly session should be convened after the lockdown to discuss relief measures for farmers, horticulturalists, traders, businesses and others. He also asked the government to demand a special financial package from the Centre as the state’s finances were already in dire straits before the pandemic struck.
Cases – 41
Deaths – 2
Recovered – 25
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