Rashid Paul

Covid-19: Kashmir one of the under reported & under tested region, believe medical experts

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“But under the current circumstances whatever is being done by the government within its available resources is appreciable”

Srinagar: Kashmir is one of the under reported and under tested regions of the world for noval coronavirus infections that have ravaged human societies all over the world.

By 16th of April the local administration had conducted 5171 tests of more than 50,000 travelers including those in contact with suspected cases.

All these suspected persons are under surveillance, say the officials claiming that Kashmir has a testing rate of 228 persons per million people.

Jammu and Kashmir, according to a nine year old census data, has a population of 12. 5 million. Ladakh, which has been carved out as a separate union territory from the then autonomous state, had a population below five lakh at that time.

So far 314 people have been detected positive for the virus in J&K with 260 cases from Kashmir alone.

The deadly virus has claimed three lives in the region so far.

Conceding that Kashmir is one of the most underreported and under tested regions of the world  Dr Khurshid Ahmad Dar Prof of Pulmonology- internal medicine at  Kashmir’s premier Chest Diseases Hospital (CD) said, “I concur 100 percent with you that Kashmir is an under reported and under tested region”.

“But under the current circumstances whatever is being done by the government within its available resources is appreciable”, he said.

The underreporting and under testing of the killer Corona infection is also admitted by other medical experts in Kashmir.

A senior professor at the SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Srinagar claimed that his co fellows in the mainland India are under instruction to under report the corona cases.

“Testing is not done in the desired numbers because it needs an infrastructure worth billions of dollars which a country like India cannot afford”, said Dr Parvez Koul, an expert in Infectious Diseases and Pulmonology at SKIMS.

Kashmir, he said, is a poor union territory of a poor country. It cannot afford extensive testing.

Our focus are only those person who have a history of travel or contact with positive cases. This is the best procedure in the given circumstances, he said.

Kashmir has only two laboratories which detect the noval coronavirus infections at the SKIMS and CD Hospital. Both the laboratories have a capacity to conduct around 90 tests during the government stipulated six working hours.

“Our doctors and paramedics stretch themselves and conduct around 300 tests in 24 hours”, Dr Naveed Shah, who heads the Covid-19 team at CD Hospital.

“Whatever cases we are getting are contacts of the index cases. The government is using all its means to detect the infections. But if the testing facility and manpower is increased many fatalities in the future can be avoided, Dr Khurshid, the pulmonologist, said.

The government has declared 76 areas in Kashmir as COVID infected. These areas have been sealed to prevent spread of the infection and its inhabitants are monitored regularly.

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