In the last fours, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed over one thousand covid-19 cases daily, taking its tally to 43557.
Most of these cases have been reported from Jammu district with daily cases of 451, 319, 520, and 450 in last four days starting from September 3. The spurt in cases comes ten days after Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam reviewed the COVID-19 mitigation measures in Jammu division and directed preparation of a strategic plan to “sweep-clean” districts Jammu, Udhampur and Rajouri of all positive cases through a “massive testing exercise” in these districts, focussed on red zones and other areas with higher incidence of infections.
Following the aggressive drive of Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), the Jammu district registered a three-digit figure in for the first time in recent times.
The comprehensive approach that centered on testing helped countries Italy, China and Spain among others to bend the curve. The increase in number of cases seems threatening but should not overawe either administration or people.
The microbe has not only made inroads into the Jammu and Kashmir’s vast countryside but has overrun states in its neighborhood.
At the same time, if we compare the size of the population of Jammu and Kashmir with some major states in India, then the record growth of cases recently in J&K is still not a reason for alarm. True the covid-19 have claimed around 800 precious lives in J&K but its cost is also huge in terms of livelihood.
The J&K’s administration can thus hardly afford to go for yet another lockdown. However, it does that means that guard can be lowered down as far as the strict implementation of the measures to prevent the Covid-19 from spreading deeper into the society is concerned. It is a tightrope walk for the administration but it should not get overawed given the fact that there are far fewer options as far as enforcing strict measures to arrest the spread of the virus. Also, given the fall in the country’s GDP, the fiscal space to pump more money into the economy to help resuscitate it seems highly improbable if not impossible. Lakhs of jobs that have been already lost and new ones will not be created in near future. For that to happen, the economy will have to kickstart again. And this, in turn, will not be possible on a sustainable basis until the covid-19 spread is controlled. The administration will need to display ingenuity in managing the virus numbers. Dithering on testing, tracing, isolating and treating will inevitably lead to uncontrolled spread and increased deaths, undermining efforts to contain the pandemic.