Ceiling On Gatherings Eased To Facilitate I-Day Celebrations Across J&K

LG Manoj Sinha inspects Guard of Honour during the 74rd I-Day celebrations at Sher-i-Kashmir Cricket Stadium, on August 15, 2020- File Photo: Abid Bhat

Educational Institutions To Remain Closed Till Further Orders

Srinagar- Jammu and Kashmir State Executive Committee (SEC) on Sunday ordered temporary relaxation on the number of people permitted to attend indoor and outdoor gatherings on the occasion of Independence Day but directed district magistrates to ensure Covid appropriate behaviour.

The relaxations were announced even as the SEC decided to continue various Covid containment measures including the closure of the educational institutions and night curfew across the union territory till further orders.

In an order issued after a detailed review of the COVID-19 situation with a focus on total weekly new cases (per million), total positivity rate, bed occupancy, case fatality rate and vaccination coverage of the targeted population, Chief Secretary A K Mehta said, There is a need to continue with the existing Covid containment measures in all the districts in view of the uneven trend in the daily cases.

The order said the maximum number of people permitted to attend any indoor or outdoor gathering shall be restricted to 25.

However, this ceiling shall be temporarily relaxed on August 15 only on account of Independence Day celebrations, subject to Covid appropriate behaviour to be ensured by all District Magistrates, Mehta, who is also the chairman of the SEC, said.

He said there would be no weekend curfew in any district but night curfew would continue to remain in force in all districts from 8 pm to 7 am, while all deputy commissioners would intensify testing by making optimum use of available RT-PCR and RAT capacities and there shall be no drop in testing levels.

All school and higher educational institutions, including coaching centers, shall continue to remain closed for onsite/in-person teaching, till further orders. However, the educational institutions are permitted to seek personal attendance of vaccinated staff/students for administrative purposes and Independence Day celebrations subject to a limit of 25 and strict adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour, Mehta said.

The SEC ordered the deputy commissioners to focus on the positivity rates of the medical blocks under their jurisdictions.

Intensified measures, related to Covid management and restriction of activities, shall be undertaken by the DCs in these blocks. There shall be renewed focus on panchayat level mapping of cases and effective micro-containment zones shall be constituted wherever unusual spike of cases is noticed, the order said.

The deputy commissioners have been asked to keep active track of the positivity rates in the blocks and consider implementing stricter control measures in closed clustered spaces like public-private offices, community halls, malls, and markets in case the weekly positivity rate goes beyond four percent in these blocks.

The three ‘T’ protocols of testing, tracking and treating, besides vaccination, need to be strengthened in these blocks. The proportion of RT-PCR tests in the total mix should be scaled up, on a best effort basis, to 70 percent or more, excluding travellers, Mehta said.

He said the positive cases detected as a result of intensive testing need to be isolated and quarantined at the earliest and their contacts should also be traced at the earliest, and similarly quarantined and tested, if needed.

The Health and Medical Education Department was directed to ensure adequate availability of Covid dedicated health and logistics (including ambulatory) infrastructure, based on its assessment of the case trajectory.

National Health Mission in consultation with the DCs shall take up panchayat level mapping and data capturing for tracking the positivity rates on fortnightly basis in all panchayats, the order said.

Mehta directed the district magistrates to strictly ensure that there is full compliance to Covid appropriate behavior and defaulters are firmly dealt with under relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code.

The District Magistrates shall constitute joint teams of Police and Executive Magistrates for enforcement of Covid Appropriate Behaviour. The joint teams shall submit daily reports regarding activities carried out by them and their assessment of compliance level, the order said.

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