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Himachal seems to be heading for lockdown, recovery rate falls to 78%

Shimla: With recovery rate falling by at least five percent during the past five days and daily fatalities nearing 50, Himachal Pradesh seems to be finally heading for lockdown.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who reached Shimla late in the evening travelling from Chamba, said "situation is really grim. The government is doing its best to save lives and arrest speed of the infection."

Asked about possibilities of a lockdown, he said "an all party meeting will be held on Wednesday morning, to be followed by a cabinet meeting. We will take a decision in the matter."

On Tuesday, the death toll in the state rose to 48 as Kangra, the state's biggest district alone, had 15 deaths and 877 new cases in the past 24 hours. This was the highest ever number.

Senior Congress MLA Asha Kumari, who along with Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihtori and former minister Col (Rtd) Dhani Ram Shandil were invited for an all party meeting, said two things were of grave concern as the presentation made by the health department reflected.

The recovery rate is 78 percent, down from 81 percent last week. This is also below the national average. Secondly the infection is also higher than the national average of 1.1 percent.

"Tomorrow when we meet , we will see what the Chief Minister proposes," she said.

Since former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has already given a statement favouring a lockdown in the country, the Congress leaders in the state are expected to take the same line even as lone CPM MLA Rakesh Singha said "lockdown will create problems for daily earners and others having livelihood issues'.

In the day, there were quite speculations about lockdown being announced in the state keeping in view a large number of deaths and also the situation becoming pathetic in some of the problems, completely overcrowded with patients. Those in home isolations are no better.

Already the states like Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Rajasthan have announced a lockdown. Thus, admits a senior BJP leader, there is little option left for Himachal Pradesh to avoid a lockdown.

In the day, apart from 48 deaths–which was quite high as compared to 43 and 44 during the past two days, the number of positive cases also showed an alarmingly high number at 3,824. The total deaths in the state has already reached 1647 mark.

Though 1992 people also got cured but the condition of many in home isolation has become critical in some of the districts like Kangra, Una, Hamirpur and Mandi.

Among those who lost their lives includes a 30-year-old male in Shimla.

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