De-Notifying With Caution

De-Notifying With Caution

Jammu and Kashmir government has ordered de-notification for effective control of the COVID-19 infection, both in red zones and in their vicinity. It has called for ‘intensive testing’ using RTPCR testing between 14th to 21st day from the date of notification of a particular Zone.
Testing of all vulnerable persons including those with co-morbidities, pregnant women, those aged more than 50 years, those with influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI ) symptoms, has been mandatory. It has also called for ‘active surveillance’ with at least three door-to-door visits for ILI and SARI cases in the notified Red zones, ideally once every week. The de-notification is essentially a step towards opening up the economy further but fulfilling the criteria is an important step towards keeping the covid-19 spread under check. The ‘de-notification’ comes at a time when Jammu and Kashmir has seen a surge in the number of coronavirus cases, now nearing towards the grim milestone of 7000-mark and death toll edging 100-mark. More than half of these cases were added up during this month or in other words, the surge has been seen since the lockdown was eased. It is also admitted fact that the results of the covid-19 lockdown were modest. In hindsight, as many are arguing in India now, the lockdown wasn’t a good strategy at all as its benefit was limited to providing the government time to put in place the healthcare infrastructure to deal with the crisis. It seems that time was utilized to strength the lockdown only and not the desired end result, even though the healthcare facilities are far from being tested like that of New Delhi which has been found wanting in creating even beds equipped with oxygen support which can prove to be life-saving in critical patients. However, it is heartening that the J&K government has called for aggressive testing to identify the suspected persons. The decision by Mumbai is good for reference as the authorities there have done well in identifying and tracing the primary contacts of infected patients. It provides important learning to all including Jammu and Kashmir to emulate especially in having more oxygen-supported beds, mobile dispensaries and neighbourhood flu clinics, door-to-door surveillance and tracing of primary and secondary contacts. While testing has been strengthened in comparison to what was at the start, there seems to be some kind of tiredness in official machinery as people begin to resume daily affairs. It is important to note that it the time to increase the guard and lower it.