Srinagar: Streets again wore a deserted look as restrictions on movement of people and transportation were re-imposed on Friday to curtail the spread of COVID-19 virus in Kashmir valley.
As many as 1,117 new positive cases, including 785 from Kashmir and 332 from Jammu, were on Thursday reported in the Union Territory. Twenty five people, including 12 from Kashmir and 13 from Jammu, lost their lives to the infection on Thursday.
The administration on May 31 gave some relaxation in the month-long COVID curfew after significant decline in the number of positive cases in the valley. However, most of the districts administrations, besides weekend curfew, have decided to impose restrictions on Fridays as well to keep the spread of the virus in check.
Markets were on Friday closed as shops and business established have been allowed to open on rotational basis between Mondays and Thursdays in the valley, where the number of COVID positive cases has witnessed a significant decline during the last over three weeks though there was no letup in the number of deaths due to the virus.
Even though there was no formal order by the district administration Srinagar, most the roads and market places, including Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the summer capital were sealed since early on Friday morning to prevent movement of people. Shops and businesses established were closed though few private vehicles and three wheelers were plying in roads in downtown, civil lines, uptown in Srinagar in view of weekend curfew.
Business and other activities were crippled in central Kashmir districts of Budgam and Ganderbal, where roads have been closed with barbed wires in most parts to prevent movement of vehicles and people.
The Deputy Commissioner of Budgam said that there shall be complete Corona curfew on Friday in the district. “We appreciate cooperation and commitment shown by public so far. Let us all fight this war against COVID-19,” he added.
Similarly, the Deputy Commissioner of Ganderbal said that there will be complete Corona Curfew on Friday in the district and only essential services will be permitted.
Reports of similar restrictions were coming from other parts of the valley, including Sopore, Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara in north and Shopian, Anantnag, Pulwama and Kulgam in south Kashmir. Shops and business establishment were closed and road wore a deserted look in these districts, where police parties were patrolling their respective areas to ensure strict implementation of the weekend curfew.
The Deputy Commissioners in these districts have issued separate orders for strict implementation of COVID curfew on Friday.
The administration in April ordered the closure of all universities, colleges, schools, and coaching centres in the Union Territory till May 15 though teaching and non-teaching staff were asked to attend schools and colleges. But, the J&K administration later allowed teaching and non-teaching staff to stay home in view of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir. The closure of the educational institutes was extended till May 30 and then till June 15.
Teachers, however, are conducting online classes from home in the valley though many students alleged that they were unable to attend these classes due to the non-availability of smartphones. The decision to allow teachers to take online classes from their respective homes was taken after many teaching and non-teaching staff members of government schools tested positive for the virus in the Union Territory.