Kashmir Indepth

Systematic tracing/testing strategy yields results 78% Asymptomatic cases tested positive Spatial-temporal mapping to be launched to further strengthen tracking of suspected cases

JAMMU, MARCH 11- The Government on Saturday informed that so far 224 positive cases of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases have been reported in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir with four unfortunate deaths and six recoveries as well.

The Government further informed that the main focus of the authorities has been the tracing of foreign travelers, participants of religious gatherings as well as contact persons of these and so far 98% cases of these have been traced which indicates that the administration is on right path in dealing with the emerging situation.

Furthermore the aggressive testing strategy, contact tracing and tracking of suspect cases has been very effective in J&K and it has gained high degree of success in it so far by which it is considered among the 4-5 highest testing regions of the country besides 78% asymptomatic cases have also been tracked which determines the aggressive testing strategy of the administration.

Notably J&K has been among the first to start testing locally having expanded its testing labs from 1 to 5 labs with testing capacity of existing labs being expanded on daily basis which will support in aggressive testing strategy of the Government.

The Government also informed that 7729 persons are under home quarantine (including facilities operated by govt.); while as 28912 persons are under home surveillance till date.
To deal with the situation, the Government of UT of J&K put restrictions from 4 March onwards much earlier than most of other states/UTs.

The Government marked 77 Red Zones (12 in Jammu/ 65 in Kashmir) for containing the virus and tracking the suspects at the earliest. The government also established effective screening mechanism at Lakhanpur (only entry point to the UT from rest of India) and over 5000 have been quarantined in lots.
Capacity Building in Healthcare System
On the healthcare front, the administration has taken several steps to deal with the emerging situation arising due to COVID-19. So far the government has established 16 standalone/dedicated COVID hospitals in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir besides isolation beds (including ICU’s) have been increased for 1525 to 2596 with further process of addition going on.
The Government has also setup 1938 hospital care beds as well as 24,926 non-hospital quarantine beds. Furthermore the administration has approached railway authorities as well as Army for support in building dedicated COVID facilities at Jammu and Srinagar of 500 beds.
Stocks of safety equipments, ventilators, testing kits are being procured to enhance the capacity in order to deal with any untoward situation which may arise due to CPVID-19.
Giving details about the innovations being employed, the government informed that to deal with the situation retired doctors are being employed and around 120 such doctors have joined till date.
De-contamination tunnels in 6 hospitals, govt. offices and other places like Lakhanpur/ Jawahar Tunnel have been established to sanitize the general public which reduces the chances of getting infected by the virus.
The government has also established sample collection booths at several places while as all frontline personnel are being provided with masks and necessary safety kits besides 1.2 crore people of J&K are being provided cotton reusable masks to ensure 100% usage of masks and these masks will be provided free of cost to the BPL families.
Communication to cater the Panic
On the communication front, the government is releasing daily Media Bulletin on COVID-19 to inform the general public about the situation in Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. Panchayat/ Block Committees have also been constituted for COVID communication, awareness and monitoring work at the local level.
Involvement of local religious leaders and meetings with religious leaders including one chaired by Hon’ble LG as well as videos of religious leaders are being widely circulated asking people to cooperate and pray from homes. Transparent communication mechanism by releasing all information honestly but also advising against any alarm has been the major aim of the administration to keep the general masses informed.
Welfare Measures
The Government has announced several welfare measures for the poor and destitute in order to help them in current circumstances.
Under the package announced by the Prime Minister 6.8 lakh farmers will be benefitted under PM KISAN, 8.47 lakh beneficiaries will be benefitted under PM Jan Dhan and till date 25000 persons have withdrawn the money.
Under the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, the government has provided 2 months advance ration (April/May) to the consumers. The free ration, under this scheme, will be distributed from April 18 to around 72 lakh beneficiaries. Free gas cylinder refills have been provided to 6.85 lakh beneficiaries as against the targeted 12.45 lakh beneficiaries. The first pension installment of Rs 500/- has been received for 70,000 beneficiaries while as 6 lakh students have just got pre/ post matric scholarship besides old age/ widow/ disability pension @ Rs 1000 p.m has been released to 6 lakh beneficiaries.
The government has given one month Mid-Day Meal food grains to parents in view on school closure whiles as 1.7 lakh labourers/construction workers have been given Rs. 1000 each besides MGNREGA wages have been expedited for around 11.86 lakh persons.
The stocks of Essential supplies are maintained with adequate precautions and around 1200 trucks carrying essential items are crossing Lakhanpur per day. Industries manufacturing essential items are functioning normally while as rest of the industries are also being facilitated.
Agriculture/ horticulture/ Animal Husbandry activities are being facilitated and functioning normally in rural areas with precautions.
The government also informed that around 138 students, 31,239 migrant labourers are being taken care of while as 1.5 lakh persons have been given ration/ food in view of the lockdown.
Future Strategy
The government will carry intensive survey of hot spots and red zones to corner all the suspect cases besides the policy of identifying and isolating vulnerable areas in the shape of hot spots or red zones will be aggressively continued. These Red Zones will continue to observe a complete lockdown, enhanced testing and extra surveillance. Further Spatial-temporal mapping will also be launched to trace and track all the suspected cases.
In its fight against the COVID 19 pandemic, the Government has sought cooperation of all people and requested for strictly following advisories issued by the Government from time to time.

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