An Entire Village in Himachal Pradesh Tested Positive for Covid. The Pandemic Is Far from Over

Social Commentary

An Entire Village in Himachal Pradesh Tested Positive for Covid. The Pandemic Is Far from Over

Illustration: Arati Gujar

Atiny village in Himachal Pradesh has become the site of a bizarre scenario in which its entire population, except for a single man, has tested positive for Covid-19. In Thorang village, which lies within the mountainous environs of the Lahaul district, 52-year-old Bhushan Thakur was the only person in the entire settlement who tested negative. Out of the 42 villagers currently residing in Thorang, 41 of them have tested positive. Officials believe a large gathering for a religious function, which most of the villagers attended, could have been responsible for the outbreak.

The situation in Thorang is reminiscent of some science fiction movie plots – Thakur’s predicament is oddly similar to I Am Legend. However, the pandemic is not a work of fiction but a very real threat. The spike in cases in Thorang corresponds to an increase of cases across the Lahaul district. In response to the rising number of Covid-19 cases, the state authorities have restricted tourist movement in the area, with all the villages north of the Rohtang Tunnel – Thorang included – being declared containment zones and marked off-limits to outsiders.

As for Thorang’s only non-positive resident Thakur, the pandemic is not something to take lightly. Five of his family members were among the villagers who tested positive when the entire village was tested. “I am staying in a separate room and have been cooking my meals for the last four days. I was with my family members until we got to know about the results. However, I was strict about the protocols like sanitising hands, wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing in public areas. People should not take this disease lightly. As winter season is setting in, people should take extra precaution,” he said in a report carried by Times of India.

While the festive season may be upon us, distracting us from the woes of this year, the situation in Thorang is a reminder that we aren’t free of the pandemic just yet.