2 women among 4 die in Jammu, one in Kashmir; 1145 infected

Hotel Ahdoos in Srinagar stops its operations after staff members test positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. —Excelsior/Shakeel
Hotel Ahdoos in Srinagar stops its operations after staff members test positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. —Excelsior/Shakeel

Govt reduces cap on gatherings
Ex-ADGP, 105 tourists, Ahadoos owner, others +ve; Hotel closed
All schools shut in Leh as 245 more cases reported

Sanjeev Pargal

LEH, Apr 17: The Govern-ment today reduced cap on gatherings and functions from 200 to 100 and also postponed Class 11th examinations as five more lives were lost to COVID including a 37-year-old woman of RS Pura and 40-year-old from Gorakh Nagar and 1145 tested positive in Jammu and Kashmir while the virus has infected 245 more people in the Union Territory of Ladakh including 236 in Leh and nine in Kargil prompting the administration to shut schools in Leh till April 30.
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Four COVID fatalities and 503 fresh cases were reported in Jammu region while one person died and 642 tested positive in Kashmir division.
Reduction of cap on gatherings and postponement of Class 11th exams were first announced in a tweet by the Office of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha followed by an order issued by the State Executive Committee (SEC) Member-Secretary Simrandeep Singh.
“In view of COVID-19, Class 11th exams have been postponed. There will also be ceiling on gatherings and functions restricting total to 100 persons from earlier 200,” a tweet by the Office of LG said.
The SEC order said the cap of 100 persons will apply to both indoor as well as outdoor gatherings/functions.
“The District Magistrates will strictly enforce the COVID appropriate behaviour of wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Stringent punitive action under relevant provisions of law should be taken against the defaulters,” the order said, adding the guidelines were based on overall assessment of the situation pertaining to spread of COVID-19 in Jammu and Kashmir.
A 37-year-old woman hailing from village Jajowal in Chakroi area of RS Pura in Jammu district was brought dead to the Military Hospital Satwari. She was positive for COVID-19. Another 40-year-old woman from Gorakh Nagar on outskirts of Jammu died of COVID pneumonia in the GMC Jammu while a 75-year-old man from Nanak Nagar, who had tested positive for the virus, was brought dead to the GMC, Medical Superintendent Dr Dara Singh said. A 70-year-old man from Draba Surankote in Poonch district, who was co-morbid and infected by Coronavirus, breathed his last in the GMC Rajouri.
Three deaths have taken Jammu region’s Corona toll to 761 and that of Jammu district to 398 and Poonch to 29.
Former Additional Director General of Police and prominent Gujjar leader Masud Choudhary today tested positive for COVID-19 in Jammu.
As many as 105 tourists and travelers also tested positive for COVID-19 at Lakhanpur, the gateway to Jammu and Kashmir in Kathua district and 75 in Reasi district, most of whom were tested at Katra Railway Station.
Among 105 tourist/travelers found positive at Lakhanpur today, 32 belonged to Uttar Pradesh, 19 Punjab, nine New Delhi, eight each Himachal Pradesh and Bihar, four Jharkhand, two Rajasthan and one each Kerala, Gujarat, Odisha and Haryana. Nineteen positives belonged to Jammu and Kashmir.
Seventy five tourist/travelers were tested positive for the virus in Reasi district including many at Katra Railway Station. Those testing positive at Katra are either being sent back or lodged in local COVID Care Centres.
District Magistrate Samba Anuradha Gupta today declared Morha Dharni in Kartholi area of Bari Barahamana as micro-Containment Zone after COVID positive cases were reported from there.
Jammu district continued to account for more than 50 percent of total positive cases in the region.
Out of 503 cases in the region, 264 were reported in Jammu district followed by 80 in Reasi, 47 Kathua, 35 Samba, 28 Rajouri, 22 Udhampur, nine each Doda and Poonch, five Kishtwar and four in Ramban district.
As many as 373 persons today recovered from the virus, the highest being 144 in Udhampur, 103 Jammu, 95 Reasi, 11 each Doda and Kathua, six Ramban and three in Rajouri district.
Jammu region’s total cases have reached 58037. Of them, 4251 are active positives while 53025 have recovered from the virus and there have been 761 casualties.
Meanwhile, the Union Territory of Ladakh today reported 245 positive cases including 236 in Leh and nine in Kargil district.
New cases have taken Ladakh’s Corona count to 11709 including 1363 active positives and 10214 recoveries. There have been 132 casualties in the UT-88 in Leh and 44 in Kargil.
Deputy Commissioner Leh Shrikant Suse today declared seven new micro-Containment Zones where cluster of cases have been detected.
At a meeting in Leh, Suse said majority of positive cases in Leh were labourers coming to the district for work.
Suse has also ordered closure of all Government/private schools including residential hostels in Leh district for imparting on-campus/in-person education to the students of all classes up to and including Class 12th with immediate effect till April 30.
“All institutions imparting in-person coaching/tuition to the students shall also remain closed till April 30. Online classes and e-learning shall be encouraged with strict adherence of all COVID-19 precautionary measures,” the DC Leh’s order read.
Meanwhile, the Chest Diseases (CD) Hospital, Jammu shall function as full fledged COVID-19 Hospital from April 20.
This was decided today in a meeting of various HoDs, Medical superintendents of GMC Jammu, CD Hospital and MCH Gandhi Nagar, and others, chaired by Principal GMC & Associated Hospitals, Jammu, Dr Shashi Sudhan Sharma.
It was decided that all the routine patient care services (Non-COVID) being provided to the patients at CD Hospital, shall be made available at GMC Jammu from April 20. The OPD services of CD Hospital shall run from the premises of Medicine OPD on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday as was done during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting also decided that the HoD Medicine Dr Vijay Kundal in consultation with HoD Anaesthesia and HoD CD&TB shall be responsible for taking decisions regarding management of COVID-19 patients and shifting them from one ward to another in the same/other hospital.
It was further decided to depute Dr Rajinder Kumar, Demonstrator, Department of Anatomy to assist Dr Bharat Bhushan, Assistant Medical Superintendent, GMC & I/c Emergency GMC, in addition to his own duties for the better management of COVID-19 patients.
Meanwhile, as the COVID-19 cases surged in Kashmir, the leading hospital of the Valley SMHS hospital in Srinagar stopped the Out-Patient Department (OPD) and said that only surgeries of emergency nature, malignancies and other referral cases shall be entertained.
Principal Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar chaired a meeting regarding the preparedness of SMHS hospital Srinagar to deal with the COVID-19. The hospital has designated 203 beds for COVID at the hospital.
In the meeting, it was decided that Ward number 02, 03, 3A, 04, 18, 19, 20, isolation/drug De-Addiction Centre, paid rooms, MICU, SICU, W-17 and disaster management ward shall be designated as COVID-19 wards.
“Ward number one shall function exclusively for ENT department, besides, ENT department shall carry out surgeries on their designated Operation Theatre. Ward number 8 comprising 36 beds shall be operated by Medicine (30 beds) as non-COVID ward and Dermatology (6 beds) jointly as rush increases,” the order issued in this regard reads.
In the meeting, it has been further decided to stop the operation of OPDs, adding that only surgeries of emergency nature, malignancies and other referral cases shall be entertained. Furthermore, the patient load vis-à-vis duty roaster of doctors and paramecia staff should be regulated and rationalized, the meeting said.
In the meantime, Ahdoos Hotel at Residency Road in Srinagar famous for its Wazwan and bakery has been shut after several guests staying at the hotel, its staffers and owner tested positive for Coronavirus.
The Manager of the hotel said that several guests staying at the hotel recently tested positive for the infection. “The management later got the serving staff of the guests and several of them tested positive. All the infected staffers have been home-quarantined and they are mostly asymptomatic, he said.
“We have decided to close all the activities at the Hotel as well as at the Restaurant wing as a precautionary measure till the conditions improve”, the Manager said.
The owner of the Hotel with underlying co-morbidities, has also tested COVID positive.
And Kashmir today reported 642 cases of COVID-19 while one person died in Valley.
Those who tested positive include 319 Srinagar, 112 Baramulla, 55 Budgam, 30 Pulwama, 17 Kupwara, 26 Anantnag, 17 Bandipora, 44 Ganderbal, 21 Kulgam and one from Shopian.
The number of cases in Kashmir division has reached 87,129 including 79,180 recoveries and 1,290 deaths.
The number of active cases in Jammu and Kashmir are 10,910 including 6,659 from Kashmir division.