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In an indication that the Covid-19 may be more widespread in Kashmir than earlier thought, 54 new coronavirus cases have been reported in Jammu and Kashmir in 48 hours beginning Wednesday. Srinagar has the highest number of Covid-19 cases at 28 confirmed infections. This has brought the total reported cases of coronavirus in J&K to 182 putting it at number 12 in terms of number of cases among all states and union territories in India. Within the country, Maharashtra continues to have the most cases with 1135,

Among the total people infected as on date in J&K, four have recovered and four have passed away. On Thursday, a 61-year-old woman from Udhampur who had tested positive succumbed to the infection, At least 13 localities have been declared as red zones in Srinagar district after COVID-19 cases were reported from these areas. Any area with more than one COVID-19 case is declared as red zone. This means all entry and exit points of the red zone are closed as a preventive measure but movement of essential supplies is allowed.

It is going to be a long haul before the spread of the disease is arrested. For now, the curve of the disease in Kashmir like elsewhere in India is getting steeper by the day. It has turned out that a lot many Kashmiris travel than was otherwise believed. Also, in recent recent years pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia and Iran have increased manifold. A significant number of Kashmiri youth visit Iran for education. Incidentally, Iran turned out to be one of the worst hit countries. And later on, the virus made inroads into Saudi Arabia too. Similarly, a significant number of people who attended religious congregations and conferences outside J&K have also contributed to spread of the virus.

Government has, meanwhile, redoubled its effort to prevent the further spread of the virus. In a welcome measure, wearing face masks has been made mandatory in the Civil Secretariat. The face masks have been made mandatory for all the officers, staff and visitors in the Civil Secretariat as a preventive measure. More is needed. For example, government needs to pay more attention to healthcare which remains fragile and thus unable to cater to the growing load of the patients. There is the dearth of infrastructure and manpower in the healthcare sector and this makes the task more challenging. That said, it is incumbent on the people also to participate in the effort to defeat the deadly virus by taking all the necessary precaution so as not to contract the disease.

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