(TibetanReview.net, May01’20) – Ahead of an announcement May 1 by India’s Ministry of Home Affairs to extend the current nationwide Covid-19 lockdown by two weeks, along with some relaxations for districts designated as orange and green zones, after May 3, the Central Tibetan Administration on Apr 30 called on Tibetans in India to maintain the existing status quo in the Tibetan settlements and schools for another 30 days and especially avoid coming to Dharamshala.
Addressing a press briefing Apr 30, Sikyong (President) Lobsang Sangay “reiterated his call for Tibetans in India to continue to observe 30 days lockdown in schools, monasteries, old age homes and settlements across India,” said the Central Tibetan Administration on its Tibet.net website.
He has “strictly urged” Tibetans who are currently outside Dharamshala not to visit the town in the month of May “keeping in view the safety of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration.”
A total of 23,000 people were reported to have returned to their homes in Himachal Pradesh over three days as of Apr 28 on being permitted to do so by the state government, reported indianexpress.com Apr 28. Besides, 17,000 had returned to Kangra District in the past few days, reported tribuneindia.com Apr 28 and 30. They had got stranded outside the state when Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly announced the nationwide lockdown on Mar 24 and then extended it till May 3 on Apr 14.
It was not clear whether Tibetans were among those who returned to Kangra in which Dharamshala in located. The government’s rule for returnees, or for those who enter the state otherwise, without the telltale symptoms of the novel coronavirus infection is 28 days of compulsory self-quarantine.
The Sikyong has lauded “the commendable relief initiatives led by various monasteries and organisations towards helping the needy and those affected during this crisis.”
Currently six of the 12 districts in Himachal Pradesh are in orange zones while the other six are green zones.
Kangra is an orange zone district. Orange zone districts are those which had not reported a Covid-19 case in the past 14 days. Green zones are those which are free of covid-19 cases and had not reported a case for 28 successive days.