COVID-19: Restrictions continue as death toll, positive cases increase in Kashmir

COVID-19: Restrictions continue as death toll, positive cases increase in Kashmir

Srinagar: Restrictions on movement and assembly of people continued for the eleventh successive day on Sunday even as locals voluntarily stayed indoors in view of an upward spiral in positive Coronavirus cases and death of another infected patient during the last 24 hours.

As many as 17 persons were tested positive for Coronavirus during the last 24 hours in J&K, where a 65-year-old infected person died on Sunday at a government hospital in the valley, taking the death toll to two. In total, 37 people have tested positive for Coronavirus so far in J&K, where all religious places have been closed to curtail spread of the virus.

Asking people not be scared of the number, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary urged people to redouble efforts to win the battle against Coronavirus. “Now the situation as it unfolds is before us. My humble request to everyone: let’s not get scared by numbers, let’s redouble our efforts to win this battle together,” Dr Choudhary twitted.

Dr Choudhary said that in view of many COVID-19 positive cases in Srinagar, ‘contact tracing’ holds the key to avoid further spread. “Surveillance teams complain reluctance in some cases and urged people to be truthful, cooperative and responsible,” he added.

Official sources told UNI that strict restrictions on movement and assembly of people continued for the 11th successive day across Kashmir valley.

Continuing its action against violators of government order, police has sealed many shops, hotels and educational institutes and arrested about 140 persons from Srinagar, Sopore, Handwara, Ganderbal and Anantnag in the valley since Tuesday. Over 70 vehicles have also been seized by police since Tuesday.

Shops and business establishments remained closed while streets were deserted as locals and traffic were off the roads in the valley, where police vehicles fitted with public address system were directing people since early this morning to remain indoors in view of imposition of restrictions under 144 CrPc, barring assembly of more than three people.

Police continued to use drones in some areas in Srinagar to announce restrictions on the movement of people as part of the 21-day lockdown to combat coronavirus pandemic.

All educations institutes, including schools, colleges and universities, remained closed in the valley, where train services and public transport were suspended till March 31.
The streets in uptown and civil lines were deserted as shops and business establishment were closed and traffic was off the roads. Security forces were deployed in these areas, where people alleged they security personnel were not allowing them to move out of their houses.

Similar situation was witnessed in downtown, where people also alleged that they were not allowed to move out of their houses even to buy groceries and vegetables.

Security forces have closed the main roads in downtown and SeK with barbed wires at Nawa Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, Kawdara and Khanyar. Similar road blocks remained erected by security forces at Nowhatta, Rangar stop and Gojwara. “Since early this morning, security forces were making announcement through loudspeakers since early this morning, directing people to remain indoors in view of curfew imposed in the district,” Muzafar Ahmad, a resident of Nawakadal, told UNI.

However, he said today people are not trying to come out in view of rise in the number of positive cases.

Similar reports of lockdown were received from other parts of the valley, including Kupwara and Baramulla in north, Budagm and Ganderbal in central and Anantnag, Pulwama Kulgam in south Kashmir.
Dr Choudhary said the administration appreciates that a number of NGOs are moving relief outreach, but warned that a minimized footprint is required to curtain the spread of virus. “While appreciating their efforts we must underline it’s not a normal relief framework. We need to minimise footprint. Pl get in touch with DDMA for organised efforts,” he tweeted.