Surveillance intensified in Kashmir to track Covid-19 cases

SRINAGAR: Authorities in Kashmir have stepped up the terrain to track travelers, who concealed their recent travel history, to contain the spread, even as restrictions on the movement of people across the country remained in effect for the 22nd consecutive day on Thursday. authorities said.

Tracking people who have a travel history but are running away is being carried out under war conditions, officials said.

These measures have been taken after a group of five people, who had recently traveled to an African country, tested positive for Covid-19. These people were placed in administrative quarantine upon arrival in Kashmir last month.

They said that ground monitoring teams in each district are being strengthened to track those people down immediately for proper evaluation and quarantine.

The steps are being taken after the division commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole, ordered all the deputy commissioners (DC) in the valley to track down all fugitive travelers on war footing in their respective districts and put them on administrative quarantine.

Pole passed these instructions while chairing a meeting Wednesday night to review the foolproof preparation and arrangements for fighting coronavirus disease in the valley.

All deputy commissioners were asked to strengthen their ground surveillance teams and track recent and fleeting travelers, from other states and foreign visitors, immediately and put them up for proper evaluation and quarantine, officials said.

They said that additional deputy commissioners in each district undertook the search for contacts and were following the mechanism as prescribed.

The move came after the positive case graph of Covid-19 patients in Jammu and Kashmir sharply increased on Wednesday when 33 new cases were detected in the union territory, bringing the total number of infected people to 158 .

Meanwhile, restrictions on the movement and gathering of people in Kashmir continued.

They said there were tight curbs throughout the valley in view of the increase in the number of positive cases in Kashmir.

They sealed off the valley's main roads and erected barriers at various locations to control unwanted movement of people and enforce the blockade, officials said.

Markets across the valley were closed and public transportation was off the roads with only pharmacies and supermarkets allowed, they added.

Educational institutions across Kashmir are closed, while all public places, including gyms, parks, clubs and restaurants, closed more than a week before the national closure announced by the Prime Minister.

While the Prime Minister announced the closure of the entire country on the night of March 24, the Union Territory Administration here had announced on March 22 a closure through Jammu and Kashmir until March 31 as part of their efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The administration said essential services, including health care personnel, have been exempted from the restrictions.

The restrictions were first imposed in many parts of the valley on March 19 to contain the spread of the virus infection. The measurements were taken after the detection of the first positive case of coronavirus in the valley.