Updated: November 30, 2021 7:42:05 pm
In view of the emergence of the new Covid variant Omicron, the Jammu and Kashmir government has asked the administration at the divisional level and in the districts to ensure testing of all foreign travellers to the Union Territory.
In the adjoining Union Territory of Ladakh, the administration has ordered closure of all the educational institutions in both Leh and Kargil districts.
According to Ladakh’s Principal Secretary Health, Revenue, Planning, Development & Monitoring and Forests, Dr Pawan Kotwal, instructions have been issued to all the health centres to follow the laid down guidelines and conduct test of all incoming travellers. Orders have also been issued for closure of all educational institutions including residential schools and hostels except for the conduct of board exams for Class 10 and 12 in Leh and Kargil, he added.
While the educational institutions were closed in Leh last week when the district registered rise in Covid-19 cases, these have been ordered to remain shut till further orders with effect from December 3, sources said.
In Kargil, an order issued by the District Magistrate asked the Chief Medical Officer to conduct 100 per cent sampling of remaining students before the closure of schools. The sampling of students appearing in board exams shall be carried out after the conclusion of the exams, it added.
On Monday, 12 new positive cases were reported in Ladakh with 11 of them from Leh district alone. The UT also reported one Covid-related death on Monday.
In view of the continued surge in Covid cases, Chief Executive Councillor of the LAHDC Leh, Tashi Gyalson chaired a meeting to review the public health preparedness for Covid-19 in the Leh district. Pointing out that spike in positive cases has been a cause of concern, CMO Leh sought assistance from the Hill Council and the district administration to contain the spread of the virus, sources said.
In J&K, a meeting of the Covid Task Force was chaired by UT chief secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta to review the public health response to Covid-19. The meeting was attended among others by the Administrative Secretaries of Finance, Health & Medical Education, Home, Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, besides Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu, Deputy Commissioner of Anantnag, Srinagar, Kathua, Jammu, Udhampur, Reasi and Budgam districts along with MD, National Health Mission and Director, Family Welfare.
The Chief Secretary underscored the need to adhere to the laid down guidelines and test all the incoming travellers through international flights. As per the guidelines, the negative travellers will be sent for home quarantine of seven days and re-tested on the eighth day, whereas the Cvoid positive patients will be sent to institutional quarantine centres for 15 days and their samples will be sent for genome sequencing at ICMR designated testing laboratories.
According to an official release issued here, it was emphasised that de-boarding from international flights must comply with the Covid-appropriate behaviour (CAB) and set protocols, and a special Covid helpdesk is forthwith established at the Srinagar airport. Besides, Secretary, Disaster Management was asked to monitor the situation and submit a daily report for timely intervention of the concerned agency.
The Chief Secretary impressed upon the Health Department to establish genome sequencing facilities at Government Medical Colleges, Srinagar and Jammu to fast-track the detection of Omicron variant and other mutations.
Moreover, district administrations of Budgam and Srinagar were asked to establish government quarantine centres and further explore arrangements for paid quarantine facilities for institutional quarantine to deal with any emergent situation.
The Health and Medical Education Department was asked to conduct an equipment audit to establish the functionality of Covid-related infrastructure including dedicated hospitals, ventilators, oxygen beds, and oxygen plants. The Department was directed to ensure the readiness of manpower and machinery to cater to a peak caseload of at least 7,500 patients per day and firm up the inventory of oxygen supply and medicines.
The Chief Secretary also directed the Deputy Commissioners to enhance the testing rate and contact tracing for positive patients to trace infection trajectory and establish micro-containment zones at an early stage. Additionally, the Deputy Commissioners were directed to reduce the daily reported cases through strict enforcement of CAB, Covid SOPs and protocols, and micro-containment zones.
Meanwhile, the administration has ordered the resumption of 500-bed DRDO Hospital at Bhagwati Nagar in Jammu in view of the threat of Omicron and recalled some of the health staff for duties there.
Officials said the hospital has been made operational as a precautionary measure. More staff will be sought as per requirement, they added.
On Monday, the Union Territory had reported 150 new cases of Covid-19 including 28 from Jammu division, taking the total number of positive cases to 3,36,681 in J&K. There was also one Corona related death also reported from Kashmir on Monday.
According to the daily Bulletin on novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) released on Monday evening, out of 336681 positive cases, 1626 are Active Positive (281 in Jammu Division and 1345 in Kashmir Division), 330579 have recovered and 4476 have died; 2185 in Jammu division and 2291in Kashmir division.
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