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Curfew extended across Jammu and Kashmir for one more week as Covid-19 cases continue to surge

The Union Territory has recorded 390 deaths and 35,659 fresh cases in the first eight days of May.

Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu |
May 9, 2021 7:40:10 pm
Security personnel patrol on a deserted street in Srinagar on Saturday. A curfew is in place in the Union Territory till May 17 owing to a surge in Covid-19 cases. (PTI)

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday extended the curfew imposed in the 20 districts of the Union Territory (UT) by another week as Covid-19 cases and deaths continued to surge.

The curfew, which has been in force for the last 11 days, was scheduled to end on Monday (May 10) at 7 am.

“Corona Curfew imposed in all 20 districts of J&K till 7 am on Monday (May 10) is extended further by 7 days till 7 am on Monday (May 17),” read a tweet from the office of Lt Governor Manoj Sinha. “The curfew will be strict except for a few essential services,” it added.

The UT on Saturday had reported 60 Covid-related deaths and 4,788 new infections. Of the deaths, 42 had taken place in Jammu division alone. The UT’s toll now stands at 2,672.

The situation has turned alarming as Jammu and Kashmir has recorded 390 deaths and 35,659 fresh cases in the first eight days of May.

Family members pray as they perform the last rites of their loved one who died of Covid-19, in Jammu on Sunday. (PTI)

Apart from this, the administration, as part of its Covid containment measures, also reduced the permissible limit on gatherings from 50 to 25 with immediate effect. It also offered jobs to retired doctors on contractual basis to help the administration tackle the crisis.

In Jammu division, Divisional Commissioner Dr Raghav Langer, on Sunday, ordered a “house-to-house verification of health status of symptomatic Covid-19 positive or suspected patients”.

“The mopping-up exercise shall be undertaken by the concerned district magistrates or chairman of the DDMA with effect from May 11 to May 13,” an order issued by Langer read. It added, “The joint teams of concerned line departments shall be constituted by the district magistrates, preferably using areas or households of responsibility of booth level officers as the verification entity.”

The database of households already generated on the Swasthyanidhi App or any other survey may be additionally used, apart from the electoral list available with the BLO concerned for household identification, the order stated.

Langer said that the verification or mopping-up teams should essentially consist of local patwari or revenue officials, beat constable, BLO and ANM/ASHA/MPHW of the Health Department. Apart from these, the supporting staff may be a local teacher, anganwadi worker or anganwadi supervisor, it said, adding that councillors of the concerned wards of the urban local bodies and panchayati raj institution members in rural areas should be involved in exercise as well.

The verification teams would inquire about the general well-being of people, health status of isolated Covid patients, suspected cases, ILI cases and enquire regarding any other co-morbidities.

The deserted roads of Srinagar owing to a curfew imposed to stop the spread of Covid-19. (PTI)

The teams shall refer the moderately and severely covid positive or suspected persons to the nearest triage facilities for screening and admission in dedicated Covid hospitals, the order said, adding that any mildly-symptomatic person in the elderly age group or having other co-morbidities, and those having difficulty in self isolation shall be encouraged to get themselves admitted to Covid care centres being run by the district administration.

To help the administration tackle the crisis, the government has also offered re-appointment on contract basis to all the doctors who are below 70 years of age and have retired from government medical colleges at Jammu and in Srinagar, besides SKMIS Soura/Bemina and from the health services department in Jammu and Srinagar.

According to an order issued by the Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo, the salary of the appointees shall be at par with their last salary drawn minus pension and the commuted portion of pension.

Meanwhile, to avoid crowding at Covid care facilities, the government has set up Covid-19 triage facilities at Jammu’s Chest Diseases Hospital, Government Hospital Gandhi Nagar (Old Block), National Institute of Technology Campus at Hazratbal, Srinagar, and SKIMS-JVC in Bemina.

These triage facilities will act as an arrival point for screening of any Covid patient intending to get admitted to the government Covid facilities.

For patients residing in periphery areas and districts other than Jammu and Srinagar, the triage point shall be the concerned district hospital, besides the new government medical colleges in Doda, Kathua, Rajouri, Baramulla and Anantnag.

Jammu District Magistrate, Anshul Garg, citing a “sharp spike” in the number of active Covid-19 cases in Jammu, has also requisitioned 50% of medical faculty of three private hospitals for Covid mitigation efforts.

Meanwhile, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha chaired a high-level meeting of the Covid task force for a district-wise report and containment measures required to control the spread of the virus.

During the meeting, it was informed that 10 additional oxygen generation plants are coming up in the Union Territory soon. It was also decided that only 50 % of staff in government departments would attend offices and they, too, would require passes to travel to office.

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