Need To Guarded As Covid-19 Cases Surge 

Need To Guarded As Covid-19 Cases Surge 

Jammu and Kashmir now has around 2000 cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). At least 27 people have died due to the infection. On May 27, the J&K reported the highest number of cases in a single-day, 162 to be precise and according to the government, 100 of them are travelers or returnees. The government spokesman Rohit Kansal claimed that these cases were detected by “rigorous J&K screening protocol” and that “our strategy (is) effective and working. The aggressive testing (is) the only effective weapon against Corona(virus).”
Without a doubt, there are immediate triggers for the surge in cases and to its credit, the government has tested more people than any state or Union territory. In fact, as per the government’s showing, the testing rate is over 10,000 per million, number one in the country. The testing capacity has gone up from just about 100 tests per day in March to 8000 tests per day today. In the last month alone it has gone up from 1800 tests per day to 8100 per day—an increase of 350 percent.
However, there are many worrying signs. Almost four districts have surpassed 200-case count and in fact, one of them, Anantnag nears 300-mark as it stood at 282 as on May 27. 18 deaths have taken place in around a month while there are at least two districts where the number of active cases per million is higher than 150. Similarly, at least half of the districts have a doubling rate of less than 14 days against average double rate of over three weeks in J&K.  Also, there are at least two districts which have seen a considerable increase in cases even when there are no returnees. In fact, there are many areas where the positivity rate of cases is much higher for the local population than for returnees. As per the experts, there are a number of cases were contact chains could not be fully established by the authorities.  In other words, the spike in deaths as well as the cases with unknown history remains a major cause of concern.  While the government itself has called for the need to be cautious and no room for complacency, it should take corrective measures especially when lockdown restrictions are being eased to a larger extent even in the districts declared as Red Zone such as Srinagar. The need of the hour is to continue with the aggressive testing. At the same time, the authorities should ramp up the public health infrastructure and ensure protection to the vulnerable.