Jammu and Kashmir reported the first laboratory-confirmed novel coronavirus case on March 7 and in 72 days since, the tally of Covid-19 patients have crossed the 1200 mark.
The graph has shown a steep rise recently as more than four hundred cases were added up last week or so alone. One of the reasons attributed to the spurt in the total cases is the influx of the residents from all parts of the country as well as from Bangladesh, the only country so far wherefrom evacuation of J&K’s stranded have taken place, although not completely. Nation’s like Oman, Iran, and Dubai are likely to be next given the Chief Secretary’s letter to Foreign Secretary in this regard last week.
The government has also increased daily testing which is other reason for the increased number of cases and one is also made to believe that those confirming to be positive for the disease are either contacts of previous patients or have history of travel to outside to states having a larger number of cases. When J&K reported the first case, it took the tally of COVID-19 patients across India to 32. Since then India surpassed China in overall reported cases and as on May 17, the tally stood at 95,622 cases and the death toll at 3,021. With an increase of 5,034 cases on May 17 alone, infections are now doubling every 13.8 days if data of the past seven days are considered. This is among the fastest in the list of countries with the highest number of infections. The average number of new cases per day from May 10-16 has risen to 3,989, compared to a daily average of 3,675 from May 8-14. The figures are suggestive of the fact infections have increased despite lockdown measures. With the rise in cases, Jammu and Kashmir like other states or UTs is yet to begin investigating community transmission despite the strongly suggestive findings that many positive cases are without travel history or apparent contacts of the previously infected patients.
While there is room for improvement, the higher number of cases should not be also construed as failure of the government in containing the disease. While most of the fresh cases are linked to travel, the others reported are mostly within the specific areas identified as red or containment zones. In comparison to what other states or UTs have reported, J&K is still better placed due to better surveillance and case finding of those with a travel history early. However, the J&K cannot be complacent and needs to be alert.