Amid a surge in the number of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in Himachal Pradesh, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on Thursday said the community spread of this infectious, deadly disease has started in the state and that there is need to be more cautious in coming days.

Replying to a reporter’s query on whether the ongoing monsoon session of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly would be curtailed in view of the Corona crisis, Thakur said the session was going on smoothly at present and the situation was under control.

“The question of curtailing the Assembly session doesn’t arise as adequate arrangements, proper sanitisation of the premises, and proper ventilation are in place in the HP Vidhan Sabha,” the CM said.

He, however, stressed on the need for remaining more vigilant within the Assembly premises and outside in public places.

The HP Assembly’s monsoon session, which got underway on 7 September, will continue till 18 September. Talking to media persons separately, health minister Rajeev Saizal also conceded the community spread of the infectious disease in Himachal.

But, he added that as compared to the Corona situation prevailing in other states, Himachal was in a “much better position”.

“It is being seen that the guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) being issued by the state government are being followed by the people.

But it is noticed that the norm of social distancing is not being followed properly at busy market places and public places,” he said.

Saizal said directives had been issued to the health and family welfare department to focus on spreading awareness on norms and rules to be followed in public places as it was the need of the hour. He urged the people of the state to wear masks and follow social distancing as mandatory practice to curb the spread of coronavirus infection.

He advised them to sanitise themselves after returning from public places and only wear clothes again after washing them.

“If we follow these norms, the trend of rise in cases of Corona will certainly come down in the state and for this, people’s cooperation is needed. Further, the unlock process has started in the country and state as well and the Centre has issued directions to open all activities but we all need to follow SOPs,” the minister pointed out.

Saizal said the Thakur government was taking “effective steps” to check the spread of coronavirus in the state and that 2.30 lakh people had been tested for Covid so far.

“If any person observes symptoms of cough or fever, he should get himself tested for the viral disease so that his/her treatment could be started before others get infected from the disease,” he added.

Altogether 2079 Covid cases have been reported in the hill state since 1 September. The cumulative number of coronavirus cases has increased to 8,295.

The highest number of Covid cases has been reported in Solan district (1,839), followed by Kangra (1,245), Sirmaur (1,122), Hamirpur (708), Una (686), Mandi (621) and Chamba (600).