Thorang village in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul is grabbing the headlines at present for a strange reason. The population of the entire village has tested positive for COVID-19, barring one person. 52-year-old Bhushan Thakur who tested negative is now being hailed as a hero, who showed how strict adherence to social distancing and hygiene protocols can even thwart the danger of community transmission.
Cases are rising in Lahaul-Spiti Villages
The scenic hamlets in Himachal’s Lahaul-Spiti Valley have been one of the worst COVID-affected districts. So far, 856 people have been diagnosed as COVID-positive in the district, bringing the state total to 32,198. The number is on the rise as tourism has started resuming slowly, especially after the government did away with the mandatory COVID-negative certificate from tourists.
However, following the widespread infection in Thorang village, the local administration has prohibited tourist movement to Teling Nullah around the north portal of Rohtang Tunnel. Tourists are also officially restricted now from entering the Lahaul villages. All the villages ahead of the Rohtang Tunnel have been identified as containment zones. On Thursday, all incoming tourist vehicles were stopped and turned around from the tunnel entrance.
Thorang village, which lies on the Manali-Leh Highway is sparsely populated at the moment as many residents had migrated to Kullu for the harsh winter months. Around 42 residents had stayed back together with their families, including Bhushan Thakur.
Community transmission from a religious gathering
A few days ago, a religious congregation was held locally which was attended by all the local residents as well as people from surrounding villages. The attendees violated social distancing norms and indulged in festivities. Shortly afterwards, people started developing symptoms of COVID-19 and test results revealed 41 of them to be positive.
However, Bhushan Thakur had avoided the gathering and had also been consistently following measures like wearing a mask, sanitising his hands regularly and maintaining social distance while interacting with others. Interestingly, all the other five members of his family have tested positive for COVID-19.
Presently, Thakur has isolated himself from his family and staying alone in a separate room. He is cooking his own meals and keeping away from other residents of the village. He has also urged everyone to understand the seriousness of the disease and adhere to all health guidelines. “People should not take this disease lightly,” he has reportedly remarked.
Netizens are citing the incident as an example of how the disease is susceptible to community transmission and how a little bit of awareness can save our lives.