5,763 persons under observation; many mosques, shrines closed
Tracing all who came in contact with Ist casualty: DGP
STATE TIMES NEWS Srinagar: Six more persons, two with travel history to abroad, have tested positive for coronavirus in Jammu and Kashmir, taking the total number of cases to 20. “Four more positive cases in Kashmir; all from Srinagar district – two have travel history abroad; the other two have travel history outside J-K as part of religious congregation,” government spokesperson Rohit Kansal tweeted. “While two more persons tested COVID19 positive in J&K, both from Rajouri District of Jammu. One, a family member of yesterday’s confirmed case of Rajouri & the other has a contact history with a confirmed (now deceased) case”, he added.
8 hospitals in Kashmir and 3 in Jammu to be exclusive COVID hospitals. 2400 treatment beds too earmarked. 1,000 additional quarantine beds also. Adequate capacity to handle any possible rush. CS chairs meeting to finalise arrangements: Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary, J&K
With this, the total number of positive cases in the Union Territory has now gone up to 20. As one patient has died and one recovered, there are 18 active cases in the union territory, of which 12 are in the Valley. According to the daily Media Bulletin on novel coronavirus, 3136 persons have been kept under home quarantine, including facilities operated by the government, while as 169 are in hospital quarantine. Persons who are under home surveillance stand at 1877 while as 581 persons have completed their 28-day surveillance period. The Bulletin further said that 423 samples have been sent for testing of which 400 tested as negative. The bulletin further stated that five reports are awaited till March 27, 2020. In a related development, 1 day after a native of Srinagar who had a long travel history succumbed to COVID-19, Director General Police Dilbag Singh has said efforts are on to trace all those people who came in contact with him so that they can be quarantined. He appealed to people to voluntarily come forward and said hiding information could prove to be “fatal”. “All those people this person met and places where he stayed are under threat. This needs to be understood,” the DGP said here. Singh said efforts are being made to trace all such people and quarantine them to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The 65-year-old man, a Maulvi, hailed from Srinagar’s Hyderpora area. He died on Thursday, becoming the first fatality in Jammu and Kashmir due to coronavirus. Singh said people should not take this death as a joke and instead view it as a “very serious threat”. Sharing the sexagenarian’s travel history, the DGP said, “He had travelled from Deoband, UP to Delhi and to Nizamuddin. From Nizamuddin he travelled to Samba and stayed at a mosque. From there he went to Srinagar and from there to Bandipora.” “He travelled a long distance. Now all people have to be traced and quarantined,” he added. So far, four people who came in contact with the Maulvi in Bandipora have been identified, Singh said. “They have tested positive (for COVID-19). The number of positive cases (in Jammu and Kashmir) was constant for a long period but has suddenly gone up with these people testing positive,” he said. Director, Health Services, Kashmir, Samir Matoo had told PTI on Thursday that 48 people who had come in contact with the maulvi are in quarantine. In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Jammu and Kashmir administration has directed all deputy commissioners and superintendents of police to caution religious leaders against holding any congregation. “DCs and SPs advised to strictly caution all religious leaders not to call any gatherings. Public gatherings a major source of social contact and spread of the virus,” Rohit Kansal said in a tweet. While the religious leaders and clergy have asked people in Kashmir to offer Friday prayers at home, the administration in Srinagar and some other districts have closed places of worship for the time being. “In view of the increased number of persons infected with coronavirus and in an effort to contain spread of the infection, the District Magistrate Srinagar has ordered closure of all places of worship in the district,” an official spokesperson said. “Concerned officers are on the ground reaching out across the district to ensure closure of all places of worship, including all mosques and gurdwaras as well as temples and churches,” he added. The restrictions on the movement and assembly of people to contain the spread of the coronavirus continued in Kashmir for the ninth day as most mosques and shrines were shut to avoid large gatherings for congregational prayers, officials said. The curbs were tightened across the valley in the wake of detection of more COVID-19 cases, they added. Many roads have been sealed off in the Valley as also in Jammu and barriers erected by the security forces to check the movement of people. Police vehicles fitted with public address systems went around the residential areas of the city and elsewhere in the Union Territory as well as in the morning hours of Friday to announce that restrictions under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were imposed. The police were also using drones in some parts of the city to announce the restrictions on the movement of people, the officials said. Most of the mosques and shrines across the valley, including those in the summer capital here, were closed on the appeal of the administration to avoid large gatherings for congregational prayers on Friday, they added. The administration said essential services, including healthcare personnel, were exempted from the restrictions. It asked people to cooperate and warned of action for violating the prohibitory orders. The district administrations have put in place a mechanism to ensure uninterrupted supplies and deliveries of essential services to the general public. Essential commodities will be home-delivered to the residents as part of the mechanism. However, there have been reports of violations by people at several places across the valley, following which the police have taken action by effecting arrests and seizing vehicles. The markets across the valley were shut and public transport was off the roads with only pharmacies and groceries allowed to open, the officials said. Educational institutions across the UT have been closed, while all public places including gymnasiums, parks, clubs and restaurants were shut down more than a week before the lockdown announced by the prime minister. Restrictions were first imposed in many parts of the valley on Thursday last week to contain the spread of the virus. The measures were taken after a 67-year-old woman from the Khanyar area of the city, who had returned from Saudi Arabia on March 16 after performing Umrah, tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, according to the Medical Bulletin, in case of any emergency people can avail free ambulance services 24×7 at their door steps by calling on toll free No. 108. Pregnant women and sick infants can avail free ambulance services by dialing toll free No. 102. Furthermore a 24×7 toll free national helpline number 1075 has been activated for support, guidance, and response to health related queries on novel coronavirus disease. The government of Jammu and Kashmir has also set up helpline numbers in this regard: 0191-2549676 (UT level Cell for J&K), 0191-2520982, 0191-2674444, 0191-2674115 (For Jammu Division), 0194-2440283 and 0194-2430581 (For Kashmir Division). According to government advisory, people are urged to take the lockdown seriously and uphold the instructions laid out by the government in a coordinated effort to protect themselves and their families by staying in homes. The government has advised the General public that in case anyone develops fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, seek medical advice promptly. “People should call on Covid-19 helpline No.s and inform about their health condition along with any recent travel or contact history so that they can be provided correct medical advice and directed to the right health facility, if needed. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19,” the advisory reads. The government has also urged public to implement Social Distancing measures as it is the key to stop and prevent the spread of Covid-19 from those who are infected to those who are not infected. The intervention includes remaining out of crowded settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others. Further, the Government has appealed people to not panic and take protective measures to protect yourself and your loved ones. “Public in general is therefore advised to avoid un-necessary travel & use of public transport; avoid crowded places and large gatherings, do not spit in public. People must take basic precautions for personal hygiene; frequent hand washing with soap & water; and observing coughing & sneezing etiquettes,” the Government advisory added. The advisory also calls upon the general public to strictly follow the advisories issued by the Government from time to time and rely only on the information released by the government in this regard through the daily media bulletin to print and electronic media. Furthermore, people are advised to refrain from spreading rumours and pay no heed to them at the same time.
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