The valley of Gods in Himachal Pradesh, Kullu district, which is also a gateway to tribal Lahaul Spiti belt, has so far fought a successful battle against COVID-19 by ensuring sanitation and social distancing measures its main shield.
Despite being an international tourist destination, with a large inflow of labour from other states and heavy movement of people in Kullu from the state, no case of corona infection has come to the fore yet in the district, an official spokesman here said.
The spokesman said the district administration in Kullu has set up COVID-19 Suraksha Kavach (safety shield) at the main entrance of the district at Bajaura to detect any possible corona infected person coming from outside. “Kullu has become the first district in the state to install such shield,” he said.
He said two transparent cabins have been built under this COVID-19 safety shield. “In one cabin full details of people going out and coming in the district are recorded by the police department, and in the other cabin, thermal screening is done by the health department.
Only after knowing the details of travel history and thermal screening, the decision is taken to permit people to enter the district or send them to quarantine centre. People entering either from red zone or from outer states are mandatorily sent to institutional quarantine centers,” he said.
The spokesman said the risk of infection in district has been reduced due to weekly health check up of drivers of the vehicles being used to supply essential food items. “The district administration is giving preference to making and distributing masks in collaboration with Gram Panchayats, Self Help Groups and Non Governmental Organizations,” he said.
Besides, village health, sanitation and disaster management committees have been formed in district.
These committees are promoting the measures suggested by the state government to prevent infection of COVID-19. People of far flung rural areas are being made aware in local language about the importance of social distancing and hygiene.
“In addition to making efforts to keep the streets and market clean the decision to distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to sanitation workers has also proved helpful in preventing spread corona infection in district,” he said.
The spokesman said to ensure social distancing, the Kullu district administration is providing essential goods, medicines and other items of need at the door steps of the people so that they do not unnecessarily get out of homes. During the curfew relaxation, social distancing is ensured in market with the help of Home Guards and students of NSS and NCC..
“Efforts made to ensure social distancing and hygiene to keep Dev Bhoomi Kullu safe from Corona infection have proved worthwhile in giving peaceful moments to the district residents,” said the spokesman.
The strictness observed at the entrance of Kullu district has safeguarded tribal belt of Lahaul Spiti also from COVID-19 pandemic so far. Lahaul Spiti, which got closed for movement in winter months due to heavy snowfall is otherwise open for traffic now.
Himachal Pradesh has so far reported 70 COVID-19 positive cases, including two deaths. Currently, there are 29 active cases. Kullu, Lahaul Spiti and Kinnaur are three out of 12 districts in Himachal, which have not reported any COVID-19 case.