The Himachal Pradesh government on Tuesday decided to defer its proposed Swarnim Himachal Rath Yatra for the time being in view of the surge in Covid cases in the hill state.

The Swarnim Himachal Rath Yatra was scheduled to roll out on 15 April on the occasion of Himachal Diwas as part of golden jubilee celebrations of fifty years of HP’s statehood.

HP Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur announced this decision after a meeting that was held to review the Covid-19 situation in the state.

Thakur said the decision to kick off Himachal Swarnim Rath Yatra would be taken after the Corona situation normalises in the state.

A decision was also taken to restrict the gatherings in the marriage ceremony to 50 people indoors and maximum 200 people outdoors till further orders, the CM said, adding only 50 persons would be allowed to attend a funeral. The Chief Minister directed the health department to take effective steps for enhancing the bed capacity in the government hospitals so that if the coronavirus cases rise, the infected people could be provided with better treatment facilities.

He also gave directions for contacting private hospitals of the state for making alternative arrangements of beds for Corona patients.

Thakur said the state government was fully geared up to check the spread of this virus and there was no shortage of oxygen cylinders, vaccine, PPE kits, face masks and hand sanitisers.

“Very soon, extra beds would be made available in Ner Chowk Medical College for Covid patients and a newly passed batch of 28 nurses would be deployed in Nahan Medical College. In addition, alternative bed capacity would also be enhanced in Hamirpur and Nahan Medical colleges,” he said.

The Chief Minister also said the districts had been directed to take up vaccination and testing for Covid-19 in a campaign mode besides contacting the patients under home isolation so that if required they could be advised for medical treatment in the hospitals. The emphasis had been laid on screening the people on border areas, he added.

Health Minister Rajiv Saizal emphasized that District Level Action Plans would be implemented strictly to check the spread of the virus.

Chief Secretary Anil Khachi also gave his suggestions on the steps required to be taken to deal with the situation and also apprised the meeting about the steps being taken by the State Government upto the field level.

HP Health Secretary Amitabh Awasthi gave details about the coronavirus situation in the state and said that at present there were 3828 active Covid cases in the state.

He said that Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police, Chief Medical Officers, Principals of Government Medical Colleges and Block Medical Officers have been given necessary directions on the matter.

Managing Di rector, National Health Mission, Himachal Pradesh, Dr Nipun Jindal, and senior officers of the Health Department were also present at the meeting.