Tribune News Service
Shimla, May 10
Alarmed by the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases due to the return of stranded migrant labourers and students from COVID infected states, the state government, on Sunday, decided to put all persons, entering the state, under institutional quarantine.
The decision was taken by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur after taking cognisance of the sudden spike in the cases among the people returning to the state.
Thousands of people of the state stranded in various parts of the country are being brought back by the state government for more than a week now after they expressed their desire to return as most of them had lost job due to the COVID-induced lockdown.
The district administrations across the state are finding it difficult to keep track of all such people in home quarantine, which is mandatory in the state.
Every day, FIRs are lodged as the persons put in home quarantine for 14 days are not following the COVID guidelines, said Shimla DC Amit Kashyap.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur held a video conferencing with the District Magistrates on Sunday and decided to put all people entering the state through under institutional quarantine.
The health experts also expressed concern as number of COVID cases registered a sudden surge among the stranded people being brought to the state in large number. Social-distancing and home-quarantine norms were also violated by the stranded people brought back.
The number of COVID cases spiked from 40 to 55 on Sunday as two to three cases were being reported every day mainly among the people being brought back.
The COVID-19 curve was flattening in the state as the figures remained static at 40 for some time with talks of Himachal becoming free from COVID. But the sudden spike has come as a shocker for the state.
Not only did the government allow the exodus of people from outside, but it also extended relaxation in the curfew hours from 9:30 am to 4:30, pm which is being viewed as another reason for worry.
People did not follow the home-quarantine guidelines and were seen roaming freely in the markets, running the risk of infection locally, considering the higher incidence of positive COVID-19 cases among the people brought back to the state, said an officer.
Hence it was better and safer to put all in institutional quarantine as it would keep track of then, facilitating prevention, he added.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said over 52,000 people stranded in other states wanted to come back home while 63,000 people of other states stranded here wanted to go back to their hometowns. Of the 63,000, over 32,000 had already left Himachal, he added while addressing nodal officers on Sunday.
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