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835 new COVID cases in J&K

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DC Srinagar orders mass vaccination of tourism players

Srinagar:  Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday recorded the highest single-day spike this year as 835 new coronavirus cases took the tally to 1,35,662, officials said, adding that one more fatality from the pathogen took the death toll to 2,019.

Currently there are 5,623 active cases, while 1,28,020 patients have recovered so far, the officials said.

The fresh 835 cases include 162 travellers. A total of 555 fresh cases were from Kashmir Valley and 280 cases were from the Jammu division, they said.

The Union territory had less than 1,000 active cases on March 15, while the number of fresh cases crossed the three-digit mark from March 16.

Srinagar district recorded the highest 349 cases, including 61 travellers, followed by 148 in Jammu and 74 in Baramulla district.

Meanwhile, in a bid to contain the rising COVID-19 infections in Kashmir, authorities have decided to test all travelers coming in by road along the Jammu-Srinagar highway at Lower Munda in district Kulgam.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Srinagar, Mohammed Aijaz Asad stated this while chairing a meeting to review COVID-19 related situation at TRC here today.

The DC Srinagar said that the testing for travelers coming by road shall be started in a couple of days hoping it would help in containing the spread of virus in the Valley.

The DC further said that mass vaccination of hotel staff, drivers, houseboat staff and others concerned with the tourism sector as frontline workers shall be started across all tourist destinations to further contain the disease spread.

Besides, he said that a special COVID-19 related training programme shall be conducted for the staff members to ensure that all SOPs are followed strictly while dealing with tourists and catering their services to the tourism sector.

He urged tourism stakeholders to ensure proper sanitation and hygiene in all hotels besides keeping two rooms available for isolation of tourists in case they test positive.

Emphasizing on strictly following the Covid-19 related SOPs, he said as shared responsibility, each stakeholder has to work with the concerned department as a team to ensure effective tourism as well as effectively dealing with the pandemic.

On the occasion, Dr Gazalla, in charge Covid-19 testing at Airport deliberated on the importance of vaccination, terming it as necessary to fight the pandemic.

She said that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe which ensures less morbidity and mortality incase vaccinated gets infected.

Various tourism stakeholders from Srinagar, Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg also attended the meeting and shared their concerns.

The tourism players raised various demands including hiring of separate hotel accommodation for isolation of infected tourists, permission to tourists to the Valley only after their RT-PCR tests are negative, improvement in testing facility at the Airport and sanitation of hotels.

Commissioner SMC, Director Tourism, Director Health, CEOs of Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg Development Authorities attended the meeting.

Meanwhile Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK) Thursday disengaged the contractual appointees, who were hired by the department last year when COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

A circular by Director Health Services Kashmir, said that all the Chief Medical Officers (CMOs), Medical Superintendents and other territorial offices have been directed to ensure that no contractual employee is working in their respective districts from April 01.

It said that the staffers engaged in view of the situation arisen due to the spread of COVID-19 pandemic under different orders purely in pursuance to government order No.347-(K) HME of 2020 dated: 28.03.2020 shall be deemed to have been disengaged from their contractual appointments and from their respective place of postings forthwith as the tenure of one year stands expired on 31.03.2021 till further orders are received from the higher authorities.

“In the event of non-compliance of instructions, the concerned CMO/Medical Superintendent and other Territorial Offices will be responsible for litigation(s), if any, held thereafter,” the circular added.

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