Dalai Lama event: 11 Covid+ foreigners freely moved around in Bodh Gaya

The careless behaviour of the tourists has sparked fears of an explosion of Covid cases in the entire state. Among the infected, one has gone missing in Bodhagaya.

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By: Santosh Singh | Bodh Gaya
Updated: 27 December, 2022 10:09 am IST

11 foreigners who are in Bodh Gaya to attend the Dalai Lama‘s three-day teaching event have tested positive for Corona. They landed in Bodh Gaya on December 24 by flight. Most of them were coming from Bangkok. By Sunday afternoon, only 5 people had tested positive for Corona but over the next 24 hours the number of infected people has doubled. Among the people who have tested positive, one is from England and the rest from Myanmar and Thailand.

In a shocking instance of careless behaviour, all these eleven tourists didn’t wait for their RTPCR test results and freely mingled with local people until the reports came in. Among the infected one has gone missing in Bodh Gaya and the other has gone back to Delhi.

This has sparked off a fear that these foreign tourists might have ended up infecting more people who came in contact with them, which could result in an explosion of Covid cases in the entire state. Local health authorities are downplaying the damage the breach of protocol on part of these tourists might have caused. Civil Surgeon Ranjan Singh said all cases are asymptomatic. “They have been isolated in their hotel rooms.  Two infected individuals have been isolated with the purpose of genome sequencing to identify the right strain/variant of the virus,” he said.

The ongoing global surge in Covid-19 infections in China is being attributed to Omicron sub-variant BF.7. Four cases of the BF.7 variant have been detected in India, so far. Two cases have been reported from Gujarat and two from Odisha. This sub-variant has already been detected in several other countries including Germany, Belgium, France, Denmark, The US and the UK.

The Buddhist spiritual leader Dalai Lama is currently in Bodh Gaya. He will be holding a teaching program on 29th, 30th and 31st December in which more 60 thousand Buddhist devotees from India and abroad will participate. The event will be held at the Kalachakra Teaching Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar.

The Indian government has begun to closely monitor Covid situation and has directed the states to keep a vigil on mask adherence and ensure that citizens follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.

With New Year’s round the corner, officially the government has not imposed any restriction on celebrations or travel. However, it has been advised that people wear masks in crowded places, maintain physical distance and also get vaccinated.

Last week Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said India had started randomly testing 2% of international travellers from December 22. In order to keep track of new variants all states have been asked to conduct genome sequencing of every Covid case in a timely manner.

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