Kashmir Indepth

Coronavirus threat: No large gathering advisory thrown to winds in Kashmir

Gala event at Gulmarg in name of Khelo India, Massive gatherings at TRC ground to watch football match, no proper mechanism for sanitizing hospitals in Sgr, panic among people

Ishtiyaq Ahmed

Srinagar, March 09: The much needed advisory barring large gatherings of people in the wake of deadly spread of coronavirus which has plunged entire world into a medical emergency, in Kashmir, which is already a pandemic zone, the order issued by none other than the Union Health Ministry is being thrown to winds as there is no ban on big public gatherings.

According to Kashmir Indepth, the latest case of large gatherings took place in the capital city of Srinagar which was the football match played at the TRC ground in the heart of Srinagar. Meanwhile there is no proper sanitation drive being launched in hospitals.

Another mass gathering was conducted by the Horticulture department aimed at creating mass awareness among the farmers.

Ironically, a group of farmers who had assembled at CITH Rangreth recently, were left unattended by the officials concerned in the wake of Coronavirus.

As per the advisory issued by the Union Health Minister on March 05, experts across world had advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

“In view of this, it is advised that mass gatherings may be avoided or possible be postponed till the disease spread is contained.

In case any such mass gatherings are conducted, states (UTs) may take necessary action to guide the organizers on precautions to be taken as per the risk communication material already sent so as to avoid any Service Acute Respiratory illness (SARI) cases and influenza like illness including the Covid-19,” the advisory reads.

However, despite this clear cut advisory, a massive event was organized at Gulmarg ski resort in the name of Khelo India from March 7 to March 11 where at least 415 athletes from various parts of India including affected states, UTs were invited.

Surprisingly, the event was inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Youth and Sports, Kiran Rijiju. A BJP leader said since the date of event was fixed long back, it would have been awkward to cancel the event.

Meanwhile, attendants at main hospitals in Srinagar questioned the preparedness of the Government to fight Covid-19. “There are no new measures as far as sanitization is concerned. There is routine floor cleaning nothing else,” said Adil Rashid, whose father is admitted at SMHS hospital Srinagar.

The government has been claiming that every visitor is being screened at the airports and at two points on Srinagar-Jammu highway at Lowermunda and Lakhanpur where travellers are supposed to submit the self-declaration that they have not visited any Coronavirus affected state or country. So far one case has tested positive for the deadly virus in J&K that of a woman who had a travel history of Iran. She has been isolated in a Jammu hospital while as two cases were tested positive in Ladakh region who also had a travel history from Iran.

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