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Himachal imposes night curfew due to rising COVID-19 cases

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A man walks the deserted streets of McLeod Ganj. April 2020. Phayul photo-Tenzin Leckphel
A man walks the deserted streets of McLeod Ganj. April 2020. Phayul photo-Tenzin Leckphel

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 23: The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet on Monday announced night curfew will be imposed in four districts including Kangra, Shimla, Kullu and Mandi, due to spike in Covid-19 cases in the state. The curfew will be enforced from 8 pm to 6 am daily from Nov. 24 till Dec. 15, to be subject to further review by the cabinet later. 

The state is home to the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well as the seat of the exile Tibetan government. Dharamshala where the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) is based, saw its first positive case in its premises last week. The rising cases of Covid-19, many say will impede the upcoming preliminary voting of the Tibetan general election in January 2021. The Election Commission announced that voter registration has declined compared to the last election.

The state has also decided to increase the fine of not wearing a mask from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1000. It also declared limitation of social, political, cultural gatherings would be restricted to 200 people. All the buses would have to comply with the 50 percent occupancy till Dec. 15. All educational institutions including schools and colleges are closed till Dec. 31 but online classes would start from Nov. 26. 

Cabinet decided that in view of the pandemic, students of classes 1 to 4, and classes 6 and 7, would be promoted as per the provision of the Right to Education Act- 2009. The final examinations for classes 5, 8, 9 and 11 would be conducted in March next year. 

The decision has also directed suspension of political rallies, adding that outdoor functions with limited number of people may also be restricted if the situation does not improve. The resumption of night curfews in heavily affected districts came a day after an entire village of 42 people tested positive in Lahaul-Spiti district on Sunday. 

India’s coronavirus tally surges past the 91 lakh mark today with COVID-19. As of now, Himachal Pradesh has a total of 34,327 active cases with 537 deaths, according to the health department data.

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