By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 1: A total of 156 cases have been discovered from Gyuto monastery near Dharamshala after the latest round of testing, the district’s Chief Medical Officer said Monday. The area has been declared a containment zone and sealed until further notice.
A cluster case was initially discovered last week where authorities declared 20 cases from the Buddhist establishment. Till date, 300 monks have been tested and 156 have been found to be infected with the virus. The CMO office said last week that the infected monks had no history of travel and are likely cases of community transmission.
“Around one hundred Buddhist monks from Gyuto Monastery in Dharamshala have tested positive for COVID-19 today. Total 156 monks have tested positive in the monastery. This locality has been declared as a containment zone,” Kangra Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gurdarshan Gupta told IndiaTV.
One monk is in critical condition and has been shifted to the Covid ward at Tanda Hospital, the largest state run medical facility in the vicinity. The infected monks, majority of whom are reported to be asymptomatic are being quarantined within the monastery compound.
The Gyuto Tantric Monastery here, an important monastery of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism has around five hundred monks from Tibet, Mongolia, Ladakh, Sikkim, Mon, Spiti, according to Geluk International Foundation.
Despite the commencement of the vaccination drive in India, experts say that inoculation of the country’s 1.3 billion people is a mammoth task that may take months if not years. On Monday, authorities kick-started the second phase of India’s vaccination drive. Anyone above the age of 60 and those older than 45 but with comorbidities that make them prone to the virus can approach government and private hospitals for shots from March 1, the Union Health Ministry announced. While the doses will be administered for free at government facilities, private hospitals can charge up to ₹250 per dose.