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Coronavirus spike cause of concern, but lockdown not required yet: Kashmir Div Com

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Urges people to follow Covid-appropriate behavior, get vaccinated

Srinagar: The sudden spike in coronavirus cases in Kashmir is a cause of concern but the situation does not warrant imposition of a lockdown yet, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole said on Tuesday.

Pole also said the number of active coronavirus cases is expected to rise as the second wave of COVID-19 has set in Kashmir. He appealed to people to observe COVID-appropriate behaviour to prevent the spread of virus.

“The rising number of COVID-19 cases is a cause of concern. But the situation does not require imposition of a lockdown yet,” Pole told reporters here.

Addressing a press conference at DIPR Auditorium Srinagar to brief media over the current Covid situation in Kashmir and measures taken to fight it, Pole who was also accompanied by DC Srinagar, Director SKIMS Soura, Director Health Services Kashmir, Principal GMC Srinagar, JD Information & PR and Incharge Covid Control Room Kashmir, said that there was sufficient bed capacity available at hospitals and oxygen facilities as a number of new oxygen generation plants have been installed at various health facilities to meet any sort of emergency situation.

He said though the government has taken various measures to contain the spread of virus, however, as a shared responsibility it has become very imperative to follow the SOPs in letter and spirit by one and all.

He said people should avoid going to public places and busy markets unless extremely necessary. Besides, wearing face mask and maintaining social distance, hand hygiene, isolation in case of coming in contact with positive person is also essential, he said.

The Div Com also emhasised that people should come forward for Covid vaccination as this is the best way to safeguard ourselves and our nears and dears from Covid-19.

While sharing the details, Div Com said a slew of measures have been taken including rigorous testing. He said a total of 2810339 Covid-19 tests have been performed till date which include 2082568 RAT & 727771 RT-PCR Tests. More than 7.5 lakh people have received Covid vaccination in Kashmir which include healthcare workers, frontline workers and people aged more than 45 years.

To deal with Covid-19 pandemic, the divisional administration, he said has followed a multi-pronged approach, which involved a multi disciplinary coordination and activities. These also include adopting/implementing preventive measures, containing the spread of Covid-19 infection through Red/Containment Zone strategy, robust contact tracing, IEC activities aimed at behavioural changes, enhancing the testing capacities, designating the Covid hospitals and health centres and increasing the availability of beds, high-flow oxygen supply and other necessary logistics for Covid patients, he said.

“Establishing Flu clinics in different hospitals of Kashmir not only helped in picking up the symptomatic cases of Covid-19 but also prevented the other patients visiting these hospitals from contracting the Covid-19 infection,” the Div Com said.

He said the divisional administration also established a Divisional Covid Control Room at the start of this pandemic in the month of March 2020 under the supervision of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, which played the pivotal role of coordinating all the Covid-19 mitigation activities in addition to a robust mechanism of surveillance and data analysis.

He said that anyone entering Kashmir from outside UT either by road, rail or air has been subjected to mandatory Covid-19 testing and allowed to move out freely only after a negative test report. Till date at Srinagar airport more than five lakh inbound passengers have been tested for Covid-19.

He said some “out of the box” interventions were also carried out in the Covid-19 mitigation activities which include health education of religious preachers and scholars, TV programs by public health experts, testing of high-risk groups like pregnant women, service providers and people involved in tourism, surveillance of positive cases on home isolation through mobile tracing, creation of whatsapp groups for monitoring the health of home-isolated Covid positive cases and many more.

A round-the-clock helpline was also established in March last year within the Covid Control Room to address the grievances and questions of the general public regarding Covid, the Div Com said.

DC Srinagar informed that all new Covid-related directions inducing 50 percent closure of commercial establishments and implementation of using 50 percent seat capacity in public transport shall be implemented in letter and spirit.

He said that people should follow protocols and cooperate on new directions taken as measures to fight the virus not as a punishment to the public.

Director SKIMS and Director Health Services Kashmir also briefed the media about the importance of maintaining proper Covid behaviour and vaccination as important to come out of the pandemic situation.

Interestingly, Director SKIMS Soura, Dr. A G Ahanger said “as on date the only difficulty we are facing for the last two days is non availability of one of the vital drugs/injection Remdesivir.

“All of you know, the entire world is facing the second wave and USA, Europe, Brazil, etc., are facing the burnt. We too are facing the heat in the Indian sub-continent. The necessity for injection Remdesivir world-over has increased. We are no exception; the Delhi government is facing the same problem. However, so far at the SKIMS Soura we are in a better position,” Ahanger said.

On this the Div Com jumped in and said “the situation is not that grave as revealed  by Director SKIMS. Patients who are in Covid care — out of them 10 percent have to go for ECG and once ECG  is done, then only Remdesivir is given; and the one who is extremely critical has to be administered five of its dozes and those who are less critical are given less number of dozes.

“We have sufficient stock of this medicine, even in Srinagar there is no crisis,” the Div Com clarified.

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