As people from different parts of the country return to their home in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Territory Saturday reported 108 COVID-19 positive cases, which is its highest single-day spike till date. Kashmir, meanwhile, reported one death due to the infection, taking the novel coronavirus toll in UT to 12.
While 22 new cases were reported from Jammu, 86 cases were reported from the Kashmir valley, including 12 pregnant women. More than half of the cases in the Valley were reported from south Kashmir, with Kulgam reporting 47 and Anantnag 17 cases. Kupwara also reported 12 cases.
“108 new cases today. No room for complacency. Be alert. Follow guidelines,” tweeted Principal Secretary Power Development Department and UT government spokesperson, Rohit Kansal.
On Saturday, a 70-year-old man, from central Kashmir’s Budgam district died of cardiac arrest. His Covid-19 test report came positive after his death.
In Jammu, the highest number of 12 positive cases was reported in Ramban district bordering Kashmir Valley, followed by 10 in Kathua adjoining Punjab.
About those tested positive in Kathua, Deputy Commissioner O P Bhagat tweeted: “All had travel history outside the UT and they were already in quarantine.”
Ten of 12 people who tested positive in Ramban district had returned to the UT from outside and were already under quarantine, said Director, National Health Mission, Bhupinder Kumar. The other two had returned from Kashmir and were at home in Banihal tehsil, he added.
Accordingly, Ramban Deputy Commissioner Nazim Zai Khan Saturday declared Gundtethar and Tethar in Banihal tehsil as containment zones banning all entry and exit in these villages. He also directed the SDM/ tehsildar/ SHO Banihal to ensure supply of essential commodities to people in the containment zone as per protocol.
With this, the number of active COVID-19 positive cases in Jammu division has risen to 70, making the total active cases across the UT to 567, including 497 in Kashmir Valley.
Over 65,000 people stranded elsewhere in the country following Covid-19 lockdown have so far returned to Jammu and Kashmir. Around 952 passengers reached Jammu railway station in Rajdhani train Saturday. On Friday, while over 900 people reached Jammu from Delhi, another 1,304 reached Udhampur railway station in two trains including one from Delhi and another from Aligarh.
Expecting a huge influx of people in view of the central government’s decision to allow movement of trains in a graded manner, the UT government has already decided to conduct tests of all the returnees using the RTPCR method. All such passengers, according to the protocol being followed by UT administration, are put into mandatory administrative quarantine in their native home districts till their test reports come negative, or till they are sent to the hospital if the test results are positive, sources said.
Signs of hope
Despite a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, the UT has a recovery rate of 48.34 per cent which is better than the national average. On Saturday, 29 more patients recovered and were discharged. Of the total 1,121 cases, 542 – 60 in Jammu and 482 in Kashmir valley – have recovered and discharged.
The UT also has lower mortality and positivity rate than the national average. With a total of 76,191 tests conducted in the UT and 1,121 confirmed cases, the positivity rate is 1.47 per cent and mortality rate 1.07 per cent.
The experts attribute the better parameters in COVID management to a rapid response, quick contact tracing and the ramping up of the tests in Jammu and Kashmir. The UT has already crossed the 3,000 tests per day barrier.
“With the little resources available, we have been managing it better than most of the states,” Dr Mohammad Salim Khan, Head Social and Preventive Medicine at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar told The Indian Express.
“There are many factors for it. One is the rapid response from the government wherever a positive case is found, then we have a robust contact tracing system and also that we have ramped up our testing,” he added.
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