With coronavirus cases increasing in Jammu and Kashmir, local residents in some parts of the Valley have taken to sealing their areas to prevent the movement of vehicles and entry of outsiders. Doctors in the region, however, have expressed concern over these blockades and their effect on smooth functioning of health services.
In parts of Srinagar, residents have setup barricades to stop people from entering. “Till date, we have no coronavirus case in our area and residents decided to block entry. We have to take precautions of our own,” said a resident of Yatoo Mohalla in Shivpora area in Srinagar.
In a village in north Kashmir’s Bandipora, volunteers guard the entry points. “We have to take these steps because no one knows if someone is carrying infection. They can infect others,” a villager said. “Volunteers from the village guard the main entry of the village so that everyone in the village remains safe,” he added.
Doctors in the Valley, however, have a word of caution.
“This is stopping nothing; this will only impede your way to reach a hospital in case of an emergency. Please understand that corona doesn’t live in another mohalla. He (suspected case) is not the other; he can be you, me, anybody. Understand and maintain social distance and stay home,” Kashmir’s leading psychiatrist Dr Arshad Hussain wrote in a post on Facebook.
Residents said that alternate routes were available in order to deal with any emergency.
A senior government official said that “they have come to know about some cases and they are looking into it”.
Several in the Valley said the administration should ensure that blocks are placed in a way that medical emergency services are not hampered.
“Areas should be blocked in a manner that it should not block entry of vehicles in case of a medical emergency. At several places, poles have been used to seal a particular area ,” said Srinagar resident Shoaib Ahmad.
On Saturday, 17 new cases were reported in J&K, taking the total number of positive cases in the UT to 224. An official release on Saturday said that so far, 98 per cent of the cases detected in the UT have a travel history or are contacts of patients who have tested positive.
Officials also said on Saturday that Srinagar, which has the highest number of cases in J&K, reported no new cases for the first time. “This shouldn’t thrill us. No lowering of guard till we are declared COVID-free,” Srinagar DM Shahid Choudhary tweeted.
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