Cap On Gatherings In Districts With Lower Cases Eased

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has reduced night-curfew by three hours in the districts with low positivity rate and increased the number of people allowed to attend a gathering in Banquet halls to 50 for vaccinated people.

The decision came two days after the Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, who is also the chairperson of the State Executive Committee (SEC) J&K, along with several other officials conducted a review meeting on the Covid situation following which an order on Covid containment measures was issued on Sunday.

As per the order, there was a need to continue with the existing Covid containment measures in all the districts in view of the uneven trend observed in daily Covid cases.

Exercising the powers conferred upon it under section 24 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the State Executive Committee (SEC), further ordered that the guidelines on Covid containment in the erstwhile state already notified vide Government Orders 35 and 36---JK (DMRRR) of 2021 dated May 29, 2021 read with Government Order 67---JK (DMRRR) of 2021 dated September 12, 2021 would continue to remain in force till further orders.

As per the order, new guidelines for pandemic containment were issued after a detailed review of the current Covid situation in Jammu and Kashmir that was conducted by the Chief Secretary, J&K with Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Finance; ACS Health and Medical Education; Principal Secretary Home; Divisional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police and other officers of Jammu and Kashmir on September 17, 2021.

“The maximum number of people permitted to attend any indoor or outdoor gathering will continue to be restricted to 25. However, as per the order, in banquet halls in districts with positivity rate below 0.2% and weekly caseload below 250, gathering shall be permitted up to an enhanced limit of 50 for vaccinated persons with verifiable RT-PCR or RAT report not older than 72 hours,” the order reads.

The order has also cautioned about any dereliction in the observance of Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB).

“Enforcement of Covid Appropriate Behaviour is critical in determining the need for additional restrictions. DMs shall constitute inspection teams of district officers to check whether the instructions for enforcement of Covid appropriate behaviour are being implemented by the concerned with due responsibility,” Mehta instructed.

Providing concessions for districts with lower positivity rate, the Chief Secretary directed, “the night curfew shall continue to remain in force in all districts from 8 pm to 7 am but for those districts with positivity rate below 0.2 % and weekly case load below 250, night curfew would be from 10 pm to 6 am.”

The Chief Secretary further directed that for the educational front there will be a, “limited in-person teaching of vaccinated students, not exceeding 50 percent on any given day, in Polytechnics and ITIs subject to consent of parents and students and all measures as per Covid related protocols.”

In the review meeting, SEC in case of class 10th and 12th students, directed that proper screening regarding vaccination should be done on the school gate. The

Chief Secretary directed that the 10th and 12th class students would be permitted with a limited in-person teaching that must not exceed 50 percent on any given day, for vaccinated students and staff.

“Proper screening regarding vaccination should be done at the school gate. If any student or teacher or other school staff shows symptoms of cough, cold, or fever, they will not be allowed to enter the school,” he said.

The Chief Secretary further reiterated that the people connected with the functioning of educational institutions or coaching centres would be accorded priority in the vaccination drives underway in all the districts of J&K.

Pertinently, schools---except for relaxations provided for students of 10th and 12th classes---would continue to remain shut for in-person teaching.

As per the newly ordered SEC guidelines, the districts with higher number of positive cases would be given special attention in terms of the vaccination drive and a daily monitoring of the vaccination drive shall be conducted by the concerned Divisional Commissioner to substantially enhance the vaccination rate.

The order further reiterated that keeping in view the rising load of positive cases in Srinagar, a special campaign would be organised to substantially increase vaccination coverage and achieve the target of 100 percent first dose within the earliest possible time.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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