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As Covid cases spike, half of Srinagar locks down

The lockdown announcement follows a spike in Covid-19 cases over the last three weeks. The number of active cases in Srinagar climbed from 572 on June 27 to 1075 on July 11.

Written by Naveed Iqbal | Srinagar | Updated: July 13, 2020 10:28:13 am
The lockdown announcement follows a spike in Covid-19 cases over the last three weeks. (Express Photo/Naveed Iqbal)

Four weeks after the gradual unlocking of Srinagar began, a fresh lockdown has been announced in parts of the city, starting 5 pm on Sunday. The decision to enforce another lockdown in an area covering more than half of the city comes after the Jammu and Kashmir administration’s announcement that the Union Territory will “reopen for tourism” and the city’s public spaces and gardens were opened up.

The lockdown announcement follows a spike in Covid-19 cases over the last three weeks. The number of active cases in Srinagar climbed from 572 on June 27 to 1075 on July 11. As many as 88 red zones have been placed under lockdown and barricades put up in large parts of the city, blocking access to the main road.

Meanwhile, the administration on Sunday issued “guidelines for tourists” visiting the Union Territory. A government order stated that in the initial phase, “there will be a partial opening of the tourism sector for external visitors, limited to tourists arriving from outside the UT by air only”. The order advises tourists to have “confirmed” hotel bookings and return tickets, proof for which will be checked on arrival, and cautions tourists above the age of 65 years to “avoid” travel.

According to authorities, those returning to the city after the easing of restrictions account for a majority of the new cases and the number of people getting infected from one person has increased significantly. Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said, “The number of contacts of a particular case being positive was earlier one or two, that same number is now between 8 to 15 in some cases.”

Also, tertiary care hospitals are only located in Srinagar and patients in order districts with complications or high viral load get referred to the city.

Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, K Pandurang Pole told The Indian Express that Deputy Commissioners are taking the call on enforcing restrictions at the local level “and this is not a general lockdown”. He said the two problems that have emerged in the unlocking period are the flouting of the guidelines to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

Asked if the administration could have been more aggressive in its messaging, the Divisional Commissioner said, “We are increasing awareness. Hoardings are being put up and Gram Panchayats have been roped in and given a format to increase awareness at the local level.”

As many as 88 red zones have been placed under lockdown and barricades put up in large parts of the city, blocking access to the main road (Express Photo/Naveed Iqbal)

J&K to allow tourists to fly in from July 14

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday decided to re-open the entry of tourists flying into the Union Territory in a phased manner from July 14.

According to new guidelines issued by the state executive committee of the Department of Disaster Management, Relief Rehabilitation and Reconstruc-tion, tourists must have a confirmed hotel booking and must be in possession of a confirmed return air ticket, or a confirmed ticket to any other place in the country outside the UT.

There will be a “partial” opening of the tourism sector for “external visitors from outside J&K, limited to tourists arriving by air only’’, the guidelines said.

However, the Union Territory government is yet to decide on allowing the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage in Jammu.

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