4 with Delhi travel history test positive in Kashmir

Docs aghast over proposal to designate GB Pant as Coronavirus hospital

Fayaz Bukhari

SRINAGAR, Mar 25: As four persons today tested positive for deadly COVID-19 in Kashmir taking the total number of positive cases to 8, authorities further tightened restrictions across the Valley to prevent movement of people and vehicles.
All four are residents of Hajin, Bandipora and had travelled with the 65-year-old man from Hyderpora Srinagar, who originally hails from Sopore and had returned from New Delhi recently after being part of a ‘Tablighi Jamaat’ attended by people from different countries.
The four who tested positive were admitted to SKIMS Soura yesterday. They are aged 40, 30, 35 and 25 and had been part of Tablighi Jamaat’ and returned from Delhi along with the 65-year old man who tested positive yesterday. Click here to watch video
Medical Superintendent SKIMS Dr Farooq Jan said that six test reports were received today and four of them came out to be positive and remaining two as negative. One of them is a 19-year old man who had returned from Bangladesh and a 27-year-old woman from Barbarshah who was symptomatic but had no travel history.
Dr Jan said that five more symptomatic people were admitted to SKIMS and their samples were sent for tests.
Also 23 more symptomatic persons were admitted to Chest Disease (CD) hospital today. “We also received test reports of 24 persons and all of them came out to be negative,” Dr Naveed Nazir, HoD CD hospital said. He added that these samples were taken at CD hospital as well received from other hospitals in the Valley.
Around 10 people including doctors as well as the paramedics have been put in hospital quarantine at SKIMS Medical College and Hospital, Bemina after coming in contact with 65-year-old man from Hyderpora Srinagar who tested positive yesterday.
Medical Superintendent of the hospital told Excelsior that the staff members were put in hospital quarantine. “Some had come in contact while some had just had a chat with the person; so we have to put all of them in quarantine,” she said.
And 20 people are admitted for hospital quarantine in Associated Hospital GMC Baramulla and out of which samples of two were sent for testing today.
A woman with travel history of Hungary today fled from the isolation ward of Chest Disease Hospital here but was later traced in SKIMS Soura.
A resident of Batamaloo, Srinagar, the 25-year-old symptomatic woman, was admitted yesterday at CD hospital. Dr Naveed said that the woman was not referred to SKIMS and that she has put life of others to danger by her act.
“There is proper procedure and lot of care has to be taken from taking suspected patients from one place to another. As she was not referred, her act has put to risk life of others”, he said.
Last week also, a symptomatic woman with Saudi Arabia travel history had escaped from the Chest Diseases Hospital. She was later traced and readmitted but tested negative for coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the Health Department today said that they have traced down at least 40 primary contacts of the persons who tested positive for the COVID-19 yesterday.
Dr S M Qadri, Nodal Officer of the Health Services Kashmir for the COVID-19 told Excelsior that the numbers include 22 primary contacts of both the positive cases reported from Srinagar. The one from Bandipora has got 18 primary contacts-all traced down.
“Those from Srinagar have been sampled and have been put into home quarantine. As of now, they are asymptomatic. While as those from Bandipora, they are in hospital quarantine,” he said.
In the meantime, doctors in Kashmir are aghast over the government proposal of designating the GB Pant, the lone children’s hospital, catering to Kashmir valley and parts of Jammu into COVID-19 hospital.
Sources said that government is proposing to turn the 200 bedded GB Pant hospital in Srinagar as COVID-19 hospital to deal with coronavirus patients. Senior doctors said that proposed move will lead to large scale infant mortality as it is the lone hospital that caters to Kashmir Valley, Poonch, Banihal and other areas of Jammu province.
They said that there are already three hospitals with bed capacity 434 in Srinagar designated as COVID-19 hospitals. “Besides there are many more COVID-19 beds available in other districts hospitals. There is no need to convert the lone children’s hospital into coronavirus hospital”, they said.
As the COVID-19 positive cases surge in Kashmir, District Magistrate Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Chowdhary today appealed people to stay indoors and report to designated screening centers in case of symptoms.
“Doctors suggest actual cases in community could probably be more than those tested positive. For heaven’s sake stay at homes and report to designated hospitals if you have symptoms/ travel history. Consult on phone before visiting Hospital. Please. Spread the word. #BreakTheChain”, he tweeted.
He has ordered imposition of very strict restrictions in the district from tomorrow. The order under Section 144 of CrPC stated that there shall be complete restrictions on public movement including private transport and operation of businesses and activities across the district up to April 15.
It stated that only officials of essential services departments as designated and certified by their heads will be allowed to move on the production of movement passes issued by the District Magistrate adding that the lowest minimum number of officials are being provided passes and allowed to move.
The order stated that doctors, paramedical staff, ambulance operators and those officials assigned by the district disaster management authority on COVID-19 emergency response duty will be allowed to move on production of valid identify cards.
“Concerned agencies have been asked to ensure strict implementation of the order and take action against violators”, the order read.
Dr Shahid appealed to the general public to cooperate with the administration and ensure strict adherence to the order. He said violation of the order would constitute criminal offence and attract strict action under Section 188 of IPC.
In the meantime, restrictions across Kashmir continued for the seventh consecutive day today after the positive cases of deadly Coronavirus was detected in the Valley.
The streets continued to be deserted and only people with emergencies were found out besides people on essential duty.
Police and paramilitary forces were deployed in strength today who enforced the restrictions across the Kashmir to prevent coronavirus outbreak.
The Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Vijay Kumar told Excelsior that strict curfew like restriction will continue till 15th April which may be extended further as per circumstances.
“Administration has instructed operational staffs of essential services to get passes from the concerned DMs, stay around their place of duties and move for service deliverance only. Police will take action if pass holders were found misusing them. We have advised them to avoid inter district movements also”, said Kumar.
He said Police and para-military forces have been briefed to enforce restrictions strictly to stop spreading of virus. “Kashmir Police has been using all types of available modern equipment, animation, pamphlets, music and demonstrations for enforcing Government guidelines. All Police officers have been advised to take help of Masjid Committees, NGO, Civil Societies and local media for appealing people to follow guidelines issued by the Government”, he said.
“At the same time, I also appeal to the people not to hide disease and go to nearest hospital. It is better for your own health, families and society at large. So far several FIRs have been registered for hiding travel history”, he said.