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J&K registers first confirmed coronavirus case

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Jammu: A 63-year-old woman tested positive for coronavirus here, making her the first confirmed case in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Monday.

This raises the number of cases in the country to 41. Officials in Kochi on Monday said that a three-year-old child tested positive for coronavirus in Kerala.

The woman, who had a travel history to Iran, was among two patients who were declared “high viral load cases” by the administration on the weekend.

They are undergoing treatment at the isolation ward of the Government Medical College (GMC) hospital and are in a stable condition, the officials said.

“The test report of the woman patient is positive, while the report of the other patient is still awaited,” a Health department official said.

Another woman, who had returned from Saudi Arabia, was admitted in GMC hospital Doda on Sunday and was kept under observation in an isolation ward, the officials said.

Her samples were sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune for testing, they added.

After the two patients were declared “high load viral cases” on Saturday, the administration announced immediate closure of all primary schools in six districts of the Union Territory and suspension of all biometric attendance till March 31 as a precautionary measure.

The two with a travel history to coronavirus-hit Italy, South Korea and Iran had fled the hospital’s isolation ward on Wednesday shortly after their admission, but were brought back within hours of the incident.

Their samples were sent to Pune.

Jammu and Kashmir has been put on alert to deal with any threat emerging from coronavirus.

Jammu and Kashmir administration spokesperson Rohit Kansal said they are watching the situation and have put 400 people under surveillance in Satawari and Sarwal areas of Jammu.

He said Anganwadi centers in these areas have also been closed till March 31.

“Situation under watch; 400 under surveillance in Satawari and Sarwal areas of Jammu. Anganwadi centers in these areas closed till March 31,” Kansal wrote on microblogging site Twitter on Monday.

In two other tweets late Sunday, he said all contacts of a suspected case are being tested and quarantined.

“All contacts of 1 suspected case being tested and quarantined; 400 others under surveillance,” Kansal said.

He said the administration is making two coronavirus testing labs functional in the Union Territory from Monday, while two more are going to start functioning in the next couple of days.

Officials said the first coronavirus testing lab has been set up at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura after necessary training was imparted to the staff. Two more testing labs, one each in GMC Jammu and Srinagar, are likely to start functioning from Wednesday.

Dispelling apprehensions of any major emergency, the Jammu and Kashmir administration said that it was monitoring and reviewing the situation closely and there was no need to panic.

“A total of 287 cases were put under active surveillance. Ninety-five of these completed the surveillance period of 28 days, while 28 samples of suspected cases had been sent for testing so far, of which 25 were reported negative,” the official said.

Listing the measures taken to control and prevent the spread of the virus, the government had said 100 percent self-declaration protocols were already established at Jammu and Srinagar airports.

“All entrants to Jammu and Kashmir via road are also being monitored at Lakhanpur and Lower Munda respectively. Help desks at railway stations, Jammu and Katra, are also operational,” a government spokesman said.

He said 100 percent self-declaration and thermal imaging have also been introduced for all pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Reasi district.

The government had appealed to the public to cooperate fully wherever quarantine was advised.

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