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Govt issues formal order for COVID-weekend lockdown

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration Thursday ordered imposition of complete restriction on non-essential movement in the Union Territory from every Friday 2.00 pm to Monday 6.00 am.

Pertinently, the government imposed an unannounced weekend lockdown across Jammu and Kashmir on last Saturday and Sunday in wake of the surge in Covid-19 cases across the Union Territory.

Issuing a formal order in this regard, the Chief Secretary, who is also Chairman of State Executive Committee (SEC) has said that there shall be a complete restriction on non-essential movement in the entire UT of J&K from every Friday 2.00 pm to Monday 6.00 am, henceforth.

It also said that the pregnant women employees will be exempted from physical attendance and they shall be allowed to work from home.

Meanwhile, an official spokesman said that Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta chaired a meeting of the COVID Task Force today to review the rising COVID cases in Jammu and Kashmir and directed the strict implementation of CAB and set protocols to break the chain of transmission.

Administrative Secretaries of the departments of Finance, Health & Medical Education, Public Works Department, Disaster Management, MD, National Health Mission and Director General, Family Health Department were present in the meeting.

It was informed that like other parts of the country, Jammu and Kashmir is also witnessing a rise in COVID cases, which has necessitated strict observance of CAB, COVID SOPs, and protocols by the general public, especially in public places.

The meeting was apprised that although the Omicron variant is maintaining a high transmission, raising the weekly positivity rate from 0.5% to 5.4% over the previous fortnight; the oxygen bed occupancy and ICU bed occupancy are currently at a comfortable level of 7.7% and 14.0%, respectively. It was given out that the healthcare facilities have been ramped up and are in a state of readiness to cater to any eventualities.

In comparison to the second (Delta) wave, Jammu and Kashmir has doubled its testing capacity to over 80,000 daily tests which is also being reflected in the higher number of daily reported cases. It was informed that although number of reported daily cases has crossed the peak of the second wave, the comparative peak positivity rate and bed occupancy rate during the current wave continue to remain low at 7.0% and 6.2% viz-a-viz second wave’s 10.9% and 60.8% respectively. Jammu and Kashmir is also maintaining a lower positivity rate in comparison to the national average of about 17%.

Taking note of the increased number of COVID cases, the Chief Secretary impressed upon all departments to permit a suitable percentage of the workforce including all pregnant employees to work from home.

The Chief Secretary appealed to the public to remain indoors and avoid visiting crowded places, besides urging them to voluntarily declare micro-containment zones in the areas which are seeing a large number of positive cases. He informed that symptomatic people can avail medical assistance and testing information by dialing the COVID emergency helpline number 104.

The NHM was asked to widely publicize the COVID helplines and UT/Divisional/District-level emergency contact numbers for assistance including teleconsultations through bulk messages and proper advertisement.

To curb the unnecessary gatherings and leisure outings during the third wave peak in the Union territory, the COVID Task Force decided to curb the non-essential movement of people from 2:00 pm on Friday till 6:00 am on Monday.

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