Around 640 persons tested positive for novel coronavirus in Jammu and Kashmir in the last four days. As per the latest official data, out of the total cases, 1415 are ‘active positive’, 908 have recovered and 28 have died.
Officially, 1835 tests per million population, the highest in the country, are being done. The doubling rate of 17.2 days and recovery rate of around 44% in the J&K are also more than the national average.
However, the J&K now is among 13 states or UTs with the highest number of cases in the country. It has more cases than neighboring Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.
There are some issues. The first is the increase in cases. This is not a reason to get alarmed. It, in fact, reflects the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is testing more people. Also it has the best testing rate among the states or UTs.
On Friday, J&K’s Chief Secretary, recognizing globally accepted way to track the infected, directed the Divisional and Deputy Commissioners to judiciously utilize the enhanced testing capacity through a rationale allocation among the districts.
Testing not only helps isolate infected people but it also helps the earlier treatment of those who are severely affected and ensure that they don’t transmit the infection to others and expose vulnerable to peril.
With MHA coming up with new guidelines, opening up many areas with more relaxations in both mobility and economic activity, there is a likelihood that cases may increase more. The concerned official machinery needs, as has been rightly recognized by the Chief Secretary, ensure a very stringent movement policy to restrict any kind of movement that may give rise to increase in infections. Areas need to be identified especially as the surge in cases in attributed to the arrival of travels. The recent episode in which six persons were allowed to go home in Tral without waiting for the test reports, which returned positive later, cannot be allowed even as an odd exception. It simply means inviting disaster.
Another issue is deaths. So far the confirmed toll is 28—25 in Kashmir and 3 in Jammu. It remains very far below the national fatality rate. Experts say that this, in turn, means that most patients have symptoms which dissipate with care and treatment.
The government has focused, rightly so, on home isolation. For a majority of patients, this is the best way out. However, there is a need to be cautious. Those under home quarantine must remain careful and mindful that returning home does not certify them being infection-free, at least for the stipulated time frame based on scientific analysis.