22 June, 2021

Monks Positive

It’s a mystic puzzle. Some 160 Buddhist monks in a Tibetan monastery test positive for Covid. But they had never even stepped out….

Photograph by PTI
Monks Positive

Panic gripped Tibetans and other ­residents of Dharamshala, abode of the Dalai Lama in Himachal Pradesh, when 160 of the 350 monks at Gyuto Tantric monastery tested positive for Covid. The first case was reported on February 14, soon after Losar, the Tibetan new year. Medical teams are probing how the infection reached the monks who rarely step out. The 86-year-old Dalai Lama too had quarantined himself and came out only for the first dose of the Covid vaccine. Kangra deputy commissioner Rakesh Prajapati says Tibetans will be vaccinated “as per guidelines and protocols framed for the local population”. Some monks who checked in at the monastery a fortnight back had ­travelled to Delhi and Karnataka, but tested negative on arrival in Dharam­shala. They are being tested again. According to a report by Dharamshala’s chief medical officer, the monastery in-charge and a nurse had ­visited a bank in McLeodganj. They are being tested too. The administration is ­relieved that the infection is confined to just one monastery, which is away from other...

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