In Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul and Spiti district, the village of Thorang has seen all but one of its residents test positive for COVID-19.
Of the village’s 42 residents, just 52-year-old Bhushan Thakur tested negative for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – or, simply, coronavirus – which causes the disease COVID-19. The remaining 41 residents of the village in the state’s Lahaul district all tested positive for the virus, which is reportedly being attributed to a religious gathering in the locality.
“I’m staying in a separate room and have been cooking my own meals for the last four days,” Mr Thakur told The Times of India (ToI). “I was with my family members until we got to know about the results. However, I was strict about all protocols like sanitising hands, wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing when in public areas. People should not take this disease lightly. As winter season is setting in, people should take extra precaution.” Five of Thakur’s relatives were among those who tested positive for the virus.
In the Lahaul and Spiti district as a whole, home to 31,500 people (many of whom have migrated elsewhere for the winter), approximately 856 people have tested positive for the virus according to officials. Villages neighbouring Thorang are also seeking spikes in positive COVID-19 cases. Rangrik village saw 39 positive tests. Hurling saw nineteen positive tests.
The district’s chief medical officer Dr Palzor has asked residents of the district to get themselves tested for COVID-19. Meanwhile, officials are restricting the movement of tourists in the area. ToI reports that “the surge in cases in [the] Lahaul valley has forced the administration to restrict tourist movement to Teling Nullah near the north portal of the Rohtang tunnel. Tourists were not allowed to enter Lahaul villages on Thursday. The villages beyond the tunnel have been turned into containment zones.”