Today: Jun 18, 2024

Coronavirus: Kashmir remains under lockdown with restrictions in all districts

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Photo/Javed Khan

Srinagar: Kashmir continued to be under a virtual lockdown for the second day on Friday as authorities imposed restrictions across all districts to contain the spread of coronavirus in the valley, which has recorded one positive case, officials said.

Restrictions were imposed on the movement and assembly of people across all districts of the valley as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the officials said.

They said security forces were deployed and barricades, including concertina wires, put up at several places in Srinagar and other places to enforce the restrictions and curtail the movement of people.

Only government and essential services employees with valid identity cards, media persons, and emergency cases were being allowed to move, they added.

The police used vehicles fitted with public address systems to announce the restrictions in the morning and asked the people to stay indoors and maintain social distancing, the officials said.

Shops, petrol pumps and other business establishments were shut on Friday in most parts of the valley, while public transport was also suspended, the officials said.

The authorities have suspended the train services on the Banihal-Srinagar-Baramulla axis after reports of overcrowding of the trains which was making screening of the passengers difficult.

Educational institutions across Kashmir have already been closed, while all public places including gymnasiums, parks, clubs and restaurants have been shut down.

The measures were taken after a 67-year-old woman from Khanyar area of the city, who had returned on March 16 from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah, tested positive for COVID-19.

As the infected person was not placed under any quarantine or isolation upon her return, the authorities had to seal off the entire neighbourhood of Khanyar falling within 300-metre radius of her residence.

Several relatives of the infected woman who had primary contact with her were advised to undergo tests while others, who might have had secondary contact with the patient, were asked to undergo self-isolation for two weeks.

In efforts to contain spread of the infection in Srinagar district, the administration constituted and activated 21 medical teams on Thursday for holding house-to-house inspections and collecting data in and around the area where the infected person resides.

Srinagar Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu Friday said 12 squads with 60 team members have been pressed into service for mechanized and specialized sterilization of those neighborhoods where individuals with travel history to COVID-19 affected countries might have had exposure.

Mattu said hundreds of the teams from Srinagar Municipal Corporation continued to remain deployed around the city for sterilizing mosques, public venues, markets, lanes, by-lanes and all vulnerable locations.

He had advised people to avoid Friday congregational prayers.

Meanwhile, as many as 184 travellers and persons in contact with suspected coronavirus cases were put under surveillance in Jammu and Kashmir in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of such people to 3,330, an official bulletin said on Friday.

Of the 3,330 people, 2,465 were in home quarantine, 44 quarantined in hospitals and 416 in home surveillance, while 405 had completed the 28-day surveillance period, it added.

A total of 186 samples were sent for testing, of which 178 were negative, the bulletin said.

Only four cases had tested positive for coronavirus in the Union Territory, while the reports of four others were awaited, it added.

Meanwhile, a 24×7 toll free national helpline number 1075 has been activated for support, guidance, and response to health related queries on novel coronavirus disease. The government of Jammu and Kashmir has also set up helpline numbers in this regard: 0191-2549676(UT level Cell for J&K), 0191-2520982(Jammu Division),0194-2440283 and 0194-2430581(Kashmir Division).

The government has appealed that any person with travel history to COVID-19 affected countries or person in contact with such a traveller, whether they are having symptoms or not, must remain in 14 days home quarantine. If any person feels unwell having cough, fever or difficulty in breathing that person should avoid exposure to others and seek medical care at the earliest.

The Government has also urged the general public to maintain social distancing as it is the key to stop and prevent the spread of Covid-19 from those who are infected.

“The intervention includes remaining out of crowded settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible,” the Government advisory said.

Further, the Government has appealed people to not panic and take care of health and protect others.

“Public in general is advised to avoid un-necessary travel and use of public transport. Avoid un-necessary travel and use of public transport; avoid crowded places and large gatherings, do not spit in public. People must take basic precautions for personal hygiene; frequent hand washing with soap and observing coughing and sneezing etiquettes,” the Government advisory added.

The advisory also calls upon the general public to strictly follow the advisories issued by the Government from time to time and rely only on the information released by the Government through the daily media bulletin to print and electronic media.