March 2020 News

4 More Test Positive In Kashmir

27 March 2020
The Tribune

Srinagar: Kashmir has seen a sudden spike in Covid positive cases With four fresh cases, including two of her co-passengers, reported from Srinagar on Friday, the toll has gone up to 14 in Kashmir in the past 10 days. A 67-year-old woman had tested positive for Covid two days after she landed in Kashmir on March 18. Health authorities immediately traced her contact persons and 41 co-passengers who travelled with her from Jeddah to Kashmir in an Air India flight on March 16. While the woman continues to be under treatment, three of her co-passengers belonging to Srinagar have been found positive while others are still in home or hospital quarantine. Even two grandchildren of one of the co-passengers also contacted the virus and are admitted to JLNM Hospital, Srinagar. 'Today, four persons have tested positive for Covid, including two co-passengers of the Khanyar woman,' a senior government official said. 'In view of the high number of positive cases in Srinagar, contact tracing holds the key to avoid further spread. Surveillance teams complain reluctance in some cases. Please be truthful, cooperative, and responsible. Easy and quick for all of us. Let's not complicate anymore. Break the chain,' Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Choudhary tweeted. Officials said all the woman's co-passengers were under observation and 11 of them were in hospital quarantine in south Kashmir's Shopian district. However, health officials said followers of Tablighi Jamat were posing a major challenge after one of its leaders, from north Kashmir's Sopore town, died and four others were found positive earlier this week. 'His (Tablighi leader) contacts are increasing; that is little bit worrying. We have traced his three more close contacts and sent their samples for testing today. Let's hope they are negative,' said a doctor, who is part of government's efforts to control the spread of Covid in Kashmir. The deceased leader has been laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard in north Kashmir's Sopore town. North Kashmir is known to be the hub of Tablighi Jamat, which follows the ideology of Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband in Uttar Pradesh, with thousands of its followers spread across the three districts of Baramulla, Kupwara, and Bandipora. They said the sudden spike in Covid positives cases, with 13 detected in the past four days, had set alarm bells ringing in the community as well as in government circles. A long queue of followers of Tablighi Jamat could be seen outside hospitals in north Kashmir for screening and testing. 'If mass testing is not done we will head towards a catastrophe. In April, Kashmir is likely to plunge into stage 3 of the epidemic and we can prevent the virus from spreading with mass testing and social distancing,' said another health official. He said testing had to be intensified and people who had symptoms of fever or cough should be tested for the virus. 'Travel history of people is an irrelevant parameter for Covid testing. We have to test everyone with travel history outside Kashmir, their contact persons, and all those who complain of fever, cough or shortness of breath,' the health official added.