A series of packed political rallies addressed by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has increased worry about a resurgence of COVID. Visuals of the crowded gatherings have gone viral on social media.
There has been a surge in COVID cases in Himachal with over 5,600 added over a week with seven deaths reported in the past 48 hours. The Himachal Pradesh government has reintroduced tough checks on all those who are entering the state including tourists and residents.
There, however, will be no bar on political or social events. All those seeking entry to the state will have to go through the registration process on the e-COVID software and procure an entry pass which will be checked at the inter-state borders.
This is in addition to the RTPCR condition already imposed in the state 10 days ago by the state cabinet. The Disaster Management Cell of the revenue department on Wednesday issued the order.
As per the order, all movement into the state will be monitored through registration on the COVID e-registration software covid19epass.hp.gov.in.
Over last 24 hours, the total number of active COVID cases in the state has risen to 2,733. Around 300 COVID cases are getting added every day.
The restrictions have however raised eyebrows as the state government has not chosen to stop political rallies being carried on a daily basis in the districts of Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti, Shimla, Mandi, Kullu and Kinnaur by top BJP leaders including the Chief Minister.
Over last 10 days, Thakur has addressed almost 100 rallies and launched projects worth Rs 2000 crore in the regions where by-polls are lined up including the Jubbal-Kotkhai, Arki, Fatehpur and Mandi Parliamentary constituency.
Mandi being Thakur’s home district has seen his frequent visits, apart from Kullu and Kangra. BJP top leaders Abhinash Rai Khanna, the BJP in charge in Himachal Pradesh and his deputy in charge are making daily visits to the by-poll bound areas.
The total number of COVID deaths in Himachal Pradesh has already risen to 3,542, of which 43 were reported during the past month.
The positivity rate has jumped from 0.9% to 2.3% and total number of active cases to 2,733.
The state government also already closed down schools after a fresh surge and ordered the public transport to run only with 50% occupancy.
Meanwhile, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur, who hails from the state, has begun his four day long Ashirwad yatra in Himachal Pradesh after arrival at Chandigarh. This is first time he has arrived in the state after his elevation to the cabinet rank with key portfolios.
Thakur was accorded a massive welcome in the state as he travelled from Parwanoo to Shimla. The Union Minister, who is the MP from Hamirpur, will travel to almost all four parliamentary constituencies of the state, before reaching his village Samirpur in Hamirpur district on August 23.