Dharamshala: The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) on Friday announced to extend lockdown in its settlements and offices across India for 80 days and asked outsiders to avoid visiting this Himachal Pradesh town for the safety of the Dalai Lama and others amid pandemic.
As the end of India’s nationwide lockdown is approaching, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay has called for 80 days lockdown for Tibetan communities in India.
Addressing a press briefing today, Sikyong reiterated his call for Tibetans in India to continue to observe lockdown in schools, monasteries, old age homes and settlements across India as official lockdown is set to be lifted on May 3. He said the curve is rising each day, and as India comes out of the lockdown with its densely packed population, the risk of transmission will be greater than ever.
He urged students to stay in school campuses in the month of May rather than travelling through coronavirus hotspots like Delhi and major cities and similarly, advised Tibetans in settlements not to venture out to the cities especially the hotspots.
Most importantly, those currently outside Dharamshala are strictly urged not to visit Dharmshala in the month of May keeping in view the safety of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration.
Sikyong condoled the death of a 90-year-old Tibetan based in Montreal and expressed solidarity with the family of the deceased.
He also gave encouraging updates on the number of Tibetans recovering from the Wuhan originated COVID-19.
Sikyong spoke about the facilities provided by CTA in this crisis, such as helplines for COVID-19 with the directory of contacts of Settlement Officers, Hospital Directors, doctors and nurses published online on CTA news media as well as the mental health helpline services. He also informed that Tibetans abroad can procure Tibetan herbal medicines for immunity when postal services reopen.
Sikyong lauded the commendable relief initiatives led by various monasteries and organisations towards helping the needy and those affected during this crisis. However, he asked volunteers doing relief work to maintain social distancing during the distribution of ration supplies which could lead to crowds and increase the risk of contracting the disease.
Home Kalon Sonam Topgyal Khorlatsang began by expressing his appreciation to the Indian government in the implementation of the lockdown which effectively curbed the spread of the virus. He also briefed about the initiatives undertaken by CTA and its functionaries.
He stated that the Home Department had created a WhatsApp group with the Settlement Officers of all 43 settlements to get daily updates from them and apprise the Kashag. The task force on coronavirus and the emergency response committee has been working on the same lines. He added quarantine facilities are made available in most settlements, along with ambulance services in many settlements. All Settlement Officers have been directed to inform the public about designated hospitals for COVID-19 care in the region and to arrange transportation services none are available using emergency allowances. He also provided helpline numbers – 104 for contacting DC and helpline 109 for transportation services.
Kalon also issued a clarification in counter to the baseless attempts by certain individuals and media org. at discrediting the CTA during this crisis.
He urged them to show responsibility and not indulge in baseless rumours or concoct fake news to gain traction. As the fourth pillar of democracy, he said it should act accordingly and fulfil its responsibility as the agent of empowerment of society rather than publishing pieces of stories that have no grounds or credibility.
He warned that strict legal action will be taken against those circulating fake news in this time of crisis.