Kashmir Indepth

Officials directed to increase RT-PCR testing, Rs 20,000 fine to be imposed on those who hide travel history in Kashmir

Threat of Omicron, surge in Covid cases


Ishtiyaq Ahmad


Srinagar Dec 08 (KINS): Amid threat of Omicron and increase in Covid cases, administration in Kashmir has been put on alert with health officials directed to increase the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR) testing for COVID-19

Directorate of Health Services Kashmir on Wednesday directed health officials to increase the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR) testing for COVID-19 in view of a surge in infections and emergence of new virus variants.

An order issued by the DHSK said that there was a need to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and emergence of the new virus variant Omicron, which has been declared by the WHO as the variant of concern.

The DHSK has asked concerned Chief Medical Officers , Medical Officers and Block Medical Officers to increase RT PCR testing in their respective jurisdictions to keep a check on the spread of infections.

Similarly, administration has decided to impose a fine of Rs 20,000 and take stern action as per the law against anyone found hiding the international travel history from the last two weeks at Srinagar airport.

The decision in this regard was taken during a recent meeting which was chaired by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K Pole and attended by senior district and health officers of Srinagar and Budgam.

According to minutes of the meeting, a copy of which lies with news agency KINS, all international travelers including those domestic travelers who have a history of international travel during the last two weeks shall be subjected to RT-PCR test upon their arrival at Srinagar Airport.

Any travelers found hiding their international travel history shall be liable for punishment as per the laws and a fine of Rs 20,000 shall be imposed on him or her.

As per the new directives, all the travelers would be sent to administrative quarantine.

“After collection of sample for RT-PCR test all these travelers shall be sent to administrative quarantine either Government (free) or private (paid) as per their choice till their reports are available and if found positive, the same shall be sent for Genome sequencing promptly; the patient shall be admitted in a separate ward at DRDO Hospital, Khunmoh, Srinagar and treated as per the standard protocol,” reads the directives.

If the reports come out negative, they shall be put in home quarantine or hotel quarantine (in the case of tourists) for seven days, during which they shall be monitored by the respective chief medical officers.

If any symptoms are observed during this period, they shall be immediately tested again otherwise they shall be re-tested on the day through RTPCR and if found negative, they shall self monitor their health for the next seven days.

“If their second RT-PCR test comes out positive the person shall be immediately shifted to DRDO hospital Khonmoh Srinagar and his/ her sample sent for Genome sequencing,” read the directives.

Experts say that the biggest tool at present people have is vaccination. “People should not hesitate in taking the vaccination. It does not impact one’s fertility. Then we have to wear face masks, avoid gatherings and frequent hand washing which will be helpful in avoiding the third wave,” they said. (KINS)


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