Ministers, senior officials quarantined in Uttarakhand after member of Cabinet tests positive for COVID-19 

Uttarakhand Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj has been admitted to AIIMS, Rishikesh after he tested positive for COVID-19

Photo courtesy- social media
Photo courtesy- social media

SMA Kazmi

The entire Uttarakhand Cabinet with the exception of two ministers and all senior officials including the Chief Secretary of the state were home quarantined after Uttarakhand Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday even as there was a major spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

The number of COVID-19 positive cases in Uttarakhand reached 1075 by Monday afternoon. Two of the ministers who escaped the quarantine were Yashpal Arya and Arvind Pandey who did not attend the May 29 Cabinet meeting.

Uttarakhand Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj, who is also a self-styled ‘God man’ has been admitted to AIIMS, Rishikesh. Earlier, his wife and former Uttarakhand minister Amrita Rawat was found positive and admitted to AIIMS, Rishikesh.

Their sons and daughter-in-laws and seventeen other staff members were also found to be positive. Forty others were also quarantined along with the minister and the area around their residence in Dalanwala area of Dehradun cordoned off, according to officials.

Amrita Rawat was tested for the virus on Saturday after she complained of fever for the last few days. She was ill after she received some guests from Delhi during the lockdown.

However, there was a controversy over the issue of quarantine of ministers and senior officials since Satpal Maharaj had attended a Cabinet meeting on May 29. The Opposition Congress party has demanded that the entire Cabinet should follow the protocol and get quarantined during these difficult times.

“The Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat should show responsible behavior and get all those who attended Cabinet meeting of May 29 home quarantined,” said Suryakant Dhasmana, vice-president of Uttarakhand Congress.

Meanwhile, Amit Negi, state health secretary, said on Sunday evening that the officials and ministers did not interact with Satpal Maharaj during the Cabinet meeting and there was no need of getting them all quarantined.

However, as the issues snowballed into a controversy in the state, the BJP spokesperson Dr Devender Bhasin said that the Chief Minister and all the ministers who attended the last cabinet meeting along with Satpal Maharaj have self-quarantined themselves in their homes voluntarily as a precautionary measure. On the other hand, senior officials including the Chief Secretary have also reportedly got themselves home quarantined.

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