Srinagar, Dec 9: As Kashmir gears up to witness harsh winter season, the news about COVID-19 vaccine being on cards has generated optimism that the arrival of 2021 would lead to the end of the pandemic also.
“Winter being harsh is nothing new for us. We have grown up amid chilly temperatures and snow. The winter doesn’t scare us but the ongoing pandemic is a cause of concern,” said Farooq Ahmed.
It’s in place to mention here that Kashmir has been in doldrums since August 5, 2019, when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K’s special status and bifurcated it into two union territories. The Centre’s decision was followed by the restrictions and the shutdown which continued till November last year. The outbreak of COVID-19 in March this year added to the miseries of the people in the Valley as they had to face another period of lockdown and uncertainty.
According to the weatherman, Kashmir is likely to witness harsh winter this year as frequent wet spells are expected in December and January months. “During the past one month the COVID-19 curve has remained stable. People continue to test positive and they are dying also due to the virus but still situation is under control,” said a medico.
He said, “The COVID vaccines have already started arriving and in coming weeks the immunization drives will also commence. We are hoping that COVID cases don’t increase due to chill. If the graph goes up it can lead to a catastrophe as the hospitals in Kashmir can accommodate a limited number of patients. We have kept our fingers crossed and are hoping that the virus doesn’t behave in an erratic manner.”
An official said that the administration is monitoring the situation closely. “We are aware of the fact that winters this year can be very harsh. The administration knows very well that the pandemic hasn’t ended yet and the vaccines won’t reach Kashmir so fast,” the official added.
He said, “If December and January months pass off without any major developments, then things will ease out as the COVID vaccines will become available in good numbers by March next year. More than anything else it’s the fear of COVID which is keeping everyone on toes. Once the pandemic ends things will automatically start falling at their own places. The arrival of vaccines and the end of the pandemic will mark the beginning of a new era in Kashmir.”