Over 150 monks have tested positive for coronavirus at Gyuto Buddhist monastery and the area has been declared a containment zone, officials said on Tuesday.
The COVID-19 cluster came to light last week when 20 cases were detected. Around 330 monks have been tested and 154 were found to be infected with the virus in the last eight days, Gurdarshan Gupta, the district’s Chief Medical Officer of Kangra district, said.
“Investigation into the cluster at Gyato Monestary revealed that incident started at the monastery (Tibetan new year) festival on February 14.
“About 15 monks came from Karnataka and Delhi. First cases were reported on February 23,” Kangra District Collectiir Rakesh Prajapati said.
The infected monks, a majority of whom are reported to be asymptomatic, have no travel history and are being quarantined within the monastery compound.
“Surprisingly, all persons coming from outside have tested negative. Only one patient in moderate category was shifted to Tanda Medical College Hospital. The rest are being managed in home isolation at the monastery,” the DC said.
The area has been declared a containment zone and sealed by Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Dharamsala until further notice.
Everyone above the age of 60 in the monastery shall be vaccinated, the DC said.
The Gyuto Tantric Monastery here is an important institution of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism where monks from Tibet, Mongolia, Ladakh, Sikkim and Spiti are resident students of Buddhist studies.