Himalayas visible from India as nature ‘heals’ during coronavirus shutdown

The Himalayas are shown in the distance from Jalandhar in the Indian state of Punjab on April 3, 2020. Anshul Chopra/Instagram

Indians in the state of Punjab say nature is healing before their very eyes during the coronavirus lockdown, as the formerly smog-veiled peaks of the Himalayas are now clearly visible along the northern edge of the country.

Several photos of the mountains captured in Jalandhar, northern India, have gone viral this week, as social media users look for a silver lining to the dire stream of COVID-19 news.

Some locals claimed it’s the first time they’ve had a good view of the Himalayas’ Dhauladhar range in “decades.”

The mountains are approximately 200 kilometres north of Jalandhar, and they’re almost always hard to see except after it rains, according to the Times of India.

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However, residents of Jalandhar and neighbouring Phagwara have been enjoying an unprecedented view of the full mountain range over the last week amid a drop in air pollution.

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“Never seen the Dhauladar range from my home rooftop in Jalandhar,” Harbhajan Singh, a former professional cricket player, tweeted on April 3.

“Never could imagine that’s possible,” Singh wrote.

India imposed an unprecedented lockdown on March 22, when it ordered nearly 1.4 billion people to stay indoors and brought the nation’s economy grinding to a halt.

The nation-wide curfew measures “have resulted in significant improvement in air quality in the country,” India’s Central Pollution Control Board reported on March 31.

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Many hailed the Himalayas news as evidence that “nature is healing” during this scaled-back period of human activity.

“Nature healing as humans get sick,” one person tweeted.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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