Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur (left) and assembly Speaker Vipin Singh Parmar inviting President Ram Nath Kovind (centre) to address at the Himachal Pradesh assembly as a part of the state’s golden jubilee celebrations, in New Delhi on September 9. (ANI Photo)
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur (left) and assembly Speaker Vipin Singh Parmar inviting President Ram Nath Kovind (centre) to address at the Himachal Pradesh assembly as a part of the state’s golden jubilee celebrations, in New Delhi on September 9. (ANI Photo)

President’s Shimla visit: 3 staffers at The Retreat test positive for Covid-19

President Kovind, who is in Shimla from September 16 to 20, will address HP assembly special session on September 17 to mark golden jubilee of statehood
By Gaurav Bisht, Shimla
UPDATED ON SEP 13, 2021 11:55 PM IST

Three staff members of The Retreat, the summer presidential house in Shimla, have tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit.

President Kovind is slated to visit Shimla from September 16 to 20. He will address the special session of the Himachal Pradesh assembly on September 17 as a part of the events to mark the golden jubilee of statehood.

Shimla deputy commissioner Aditya Negi said that all staff members of The Retreat are being tested for Covid-19 according to the standard operating procedures issued by the President’s office ahead of his visit.

All three positive patients asymptomatic

Health department teams collected samples of 56 staff members on Friday for RT-PCR tests out of which three, including a woman, tested positive.

All three staff members are asymptomatic and have been quarantined at Craignano on the Shimla-Naldehra highway in Mashobra. Remaining 53 staff members have also been quarantined.

“Sanitisation of The Retreat campus has been done,” Negi said, adding that there are 50-60 employees at The Retreat. However, the number of employees deployed there has increased as many staffers have arrived from Delhi in the run-up to the President’s visit.

Prez to stay at Hotel Cesil

Meanwhile, the state government has changed the Presidents place of stay. The President will now stay at hotel The Oberoi Cecil, which is at a one minute drive from state assembly complex.

According to the tentative schedule, the President will arrive at Kalyani helipad on September 16. He will be accompanied by his staff and close relatives.

Besides addressing the Himachal Pradesh assembly, the President will visit the Indian Audit and Accounts Academy at Yarrows.

He will host an At Home on September 19.

Vidhan Sabha staff to undergo Covid test

On Sunday, Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Speaker Vipin Singh Parmar presided over a high-level meeting of officials to review the arrangements for the President’s visit.

Parmar said besides the staff members of The Retreat, all employees of the Vidhan Sabha secretariat will be tested for Covid-19.

The police personnel engaged in the security details and staff of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) to be engaged in the services during the assembly’s special session will also be tested.

The Vidhan Sabha complex will be sanitised.

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