With Eid round the corner, uncertainty prevails over the release from quarantine centres of around 700 people in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ramban, who gave their samples for testing around two weeks ago.
Since May 11, the J&K administration has made the RT-PCR test mandatory for all those returning to the Union Territory. These people will have to remain in administrative quarantine till their test reports come negative, or till they are sent to the hospital if the results are positive.
At a quarantine centre near Batote, a group of 105 people, who had returned to the Union Territory via Lakhanpur from neighbouring Punjab on May 1, waits impatiently for their test results to arrive. According to Bilal (24), the samples of 47 were taken by Health Department officials on May 7, while 58 gave their samples on May 8. He said his wife Zareena and three children are eagerly waiting for him at home. “My daughter called me on my mobile on Tuesday evening and she was crying… What shall I tell her when even the officials don’t know as to when they will be getting our test reports?’’ he said.
According to sources, the test results of those who gave their samples between May 5 and 8 are still awaited — around 700 people in total.
Ramban Chief Medical Officer Dr Fareed Bhat said, “Today (May 20), we had a meeting with the Ramban Deputy Commissioner Nazim Zai Khan and decided to wait for the test reports for a day or two and if these do not come, then allow these people go home after the completion of their 21-day quarantine.”
Officials in the J&K administration, including National Health Mission director Bhupinder Kumar — the nodal officer to deal with Covid-19 cases — did not respond to repeated phone calls and messages.