Srinagar -Seven more people tested positive for coronavirus in Kashmir Valley on Wednesday, taking total number of cases in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to 62.
“As we speak today, like in the rest of the country, the number of cases in J&K is also showing an increase. The number of cases which was 27 on March 28 has now risen to 62. This includes 58 active cases, of which 48 are in Kashmir and 10 are in Jammu division,” government spokesperson Rohit Kansal said while addressing a news conference in Jammu today.
“There are a total of 17041 cases which are under active surveillance so far. This is a dynamic process and while some cases who complete their period are being released for home quarantine, newer cases keep getting added as per contact tracing results,” he said.
Kansal said that government was conscious about the concern among the people over the cases being tested positive. However, he quickly added that the government has a robust contact tracing process.
“Many of the positive cases could be traced as a result of a vigorous and scientific contact tracing exercise undertaken by the administration. As a result we were able to trace many cases including some that were asymptomatic,” the government spokesman said.
“This is important because if not traced these cases could have continued in the general population and could even have infected more cases,” he said while adding that the government will actively pursue this strategy,” he added.
Kansal said that the government has been successful in identifying nearly2000 contacts of positive cases. He said instructions have been passed that no known contact be left untraced.
“I had mentioned last time that this is bound to lead to some inconvenience. Hot spots would need to be isolated and sealed and movements fully restricted,” he said, adding “Believe me, it is worth the trouble and effort. Every single case detected and traced means so many more have been prevented from being infected,”
Kansal further said that Jammu and Kashmir has also been testing cases aggressively and it was among the first to start testing locally through 4 testing centers.
“Our testing rate has been nearly 77.5 per million, one of the highest in the country and next only to Kerala. We have decided to further increase it. To begin with, we plan to test every single one of the 2000 contacts that we have identified,” he said.
The government spokesperson said that the strategy of aggressive tracing and increased testing will continue. He said that in order to achieve the concerned authorities have well defined protocols for quarantine, isolation and restrictions on movement.
“In defining protocols we have often gone beyond what is being followed in some other states; however this has been carefully planned. Wherever we have been deliberately stricter, it is because we firmly believe that it is better to be strict and firm initially than dealing with a large pool of infections at a later stage,” he said.
The government spokesman added that there were 11 exclusive COVID 19 hospitals, an administrative quarantine facility of over 35000 beds and 2400 earmarked treatment beds in Jammu and Kashmir to deal with any kind of situation.
He said that the health department has also started upgrading its manpower and equipment.
“It has started reengagement of retired professionals, consultants and will use every possible mechanism to ensure that there is no shortage of manpower. Similarly, it is procuring all essential material including masks, PPEs and ventilators,” he said.
8 Udhampur villages declared red zones
Meanwhile eight villages in Udhampur have been declared as red zones after it was found that 10 people from the district had attended the Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin, officials said on Wednesday.
They have been traced and sent to quarantine, officials said, adding that two of them have tested positive for COVID-19.
“After some people tested positive, Megani area and its surrounding villages have been declared as red zones,” District Magistrate of Udhampur, Piyush Singla said.
The villages include Kotli Paie, Chopra Shop, Rehambal, Megiyot, Rakh Sansu, More Duggar, Padam and Jib, he said.
“The entire area has been sealed and people have been asked not to make any movement,” he said.
Singla said nearly 100 health professionals have been sent to the area to trace those who may have come in contact with the ten people so that necessary action can be taken.
Udhampur district has been completely sealed and all entry and exit points have been blocked as per the directions, he said, adding only vehicles of essential services and some vehicles of SRTC will be allowed on the highway.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.