By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 11: Celebrations of the Tibetan new year or Losar will have to be curtailed after Chinese authorities said “large-scale traditional religious activities” will be banned in occupied Tibet’s Tibetan Autonomous Region’s (TAR) capital Lhasa to check the outbreak of the Novel CoronaVirus (nCoV-2019).
Chinese state media Xinhua on February 10 said that the measures are “aimed to protect people’s health and avoid the risk of cross-infection caused by gatherings” and that religious activities such as praying for the Tibetan New Year will have to be “shortened and the scale downsized”.
As of Sunday, there is only one confirmed case in TAR; a patient surnamed Zhang who is said to be under stable conditions after receiving treatment since Jan. 31. Authorities have placed his close contacts under medical observation.
In other parts of occupied Tibet, Chinese state media has confirmed 23 cases in Sichuan’s Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, six in Gansu’s Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, one in Sichuan’s Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, three in the Tsojang Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of neighbouring Qinghai province, and 15 in Qinghai’s provincial capital Xining.
As of Tuesday, the death toll of the virus reached 1,018 with only two deceased outside of China in Hong Kong and Philippines, and the number of infected jumping to 43,104 people world wide.