President Dr Lobsang Sangay during a press briefing in Dharamshala, India, on coronavirus. Photo: CTA/file photo

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Dharamshala, India — Tibetan President Dr Lobsang Sangay is urging Tibetans to continue to maintain social distancing, suspend any social or religious gatherings and adhere strictly to the directions issued by the Government of India.

The WHO initially declared the Chinese virus as a "novel coronavirus outbreak"—COVID-19, originated in Wuhan, China and then the virus has spread rapidly around the world. The entire world now is at a critical point in the fight against the Chinese virus. China's Coronavirus cases globally have crossed 1.4 million with a death toll at 85,522.

Speaking at the press briefing on April 10, 2020, President Dr Lobsang Sangay, President of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), previously known as the Government of Tibet, strongly urges Tibetans living in India to continue to stay at home, act responsibly and strictly observe directions issued by the government of India. He also said that the lockdown is expected to go on for at least a few more weeks.

'The lockdown could be extended for a long-haul particularly in the Tibetan settlements across India where there are clusters of population and significant movements of people,' the President said, specifically calling the Tibetan monasteries to continue the suspension of all religious gatherings and strictly follow social distancing. “Incidents such as the Nizamuddin religious gathering becoming the single biggest hotspot for coronavirus in India can not be repeated,” he added.

President further declared that the CTA Task Force committee responsible for monitoring the coronavirus-related situations of Tibetans will provide all the necessary information via their weekly press briefings every Thursday on Tibet TV. An emergency response committee has also been activated, comprising of secretaries of CTA departments, who regularly meet to review the situation and prepare a strategic response plan.

President Dr Sangay via the briefing applauded the services of the Settlement officers, the staff who are attending to the welfare of the people every-day and those at the CTA headquarters who are providing all necessary support to the public in this critical time, according to the CTA official web-media.

He also appreciated the new online classes initiative of the Department of Education of the CTA and encouraged parents and children to make the best use of these resources. To the youth and the rest, the President advised constructive use of time, indulging in health maintenance activities, meditation and spending more time with family and loved ones.