48 test +ve for COVID-19, aggressive testing on in Shopian village

-Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
-Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

Hirpora worst hit by Coronavirus

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Apr 25: The picturesque Hirpora village in district Shopian on Mughal road in the foothills of Pir Panchal mountains famous for apples and red skin potatoes is worst affected village in Kashmir where 48 people have tested positive for coronavirus.
Twenty three people from Islamic missionary movement of Tablighi Jamaat of the village who had gone outside, mostly Maharashtra, returned home on March 24. Although administration wasted no time to quarantine them but damage had already been done. Later in the quarantine centre, 11 of them tested positive and 12 negative.
Since majority of them had come after 30-45 days, their relatives and neighbours came to meet them. They hugged and kissed them without knowing that some of them were infected. And in these 36 hours, they transmitted the pathogen to their family members, relatives and neighbours.
Majority of these 45 positive cases are from Wani Mohalla of Hirpora village with a population of just 70 people and spread over 17 households. Entire village which has a population of 5, 500 has been declared Red Zone and aggressive contact tracing was started.
Irfan Sheikh, 21, a student, is one among them who had returned from Mumbai on March 24 and was sent to quarantine on March 26. He tested positive for Coronavirus on April 8 and is since then admitted in District Hospital Shopian. “I am asymptomatic since then. I was not given any medicine. I tested negative twice in 22 days and will be declared recovered soon and discharged”, he said.
Aijaz Ahmad Sheikh, the Sarpanch of the village told Excelsior that out of 45 positive cases, 5 people have recovered and discharged. He said that the administration is taking samples of the contacts and even today 70 fresh samples were collected from the village. He blamed people for violating the guidelines for not maintaining the social distancing.
Sheikh said that those people whose samples are being taken are sent back home and there is threat that the positives among them may spread the disease. “They should be isolated so that the spread of the virus is controlled”, he said.
However, Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Mohammad Yasin Choudhray, told Excelsior that all the primary contacts are quarantined. “We only send home people from buffer zone”, he added.
He said that the administration has gone for aggressive testing in the village. So far, 473 samples were tested in the village and this includes entire Wani Mohalla that was highly infected. He added that most of the infected are family members of the Tablighi Jamaat and in a few cases their neibhours have tested positive for the pathogen.
The Deputy Commissioner said that contact tracing in the village has been rigorous and accurate and it has. “Earlier we were hard-pressed with testing facilities and VTM and staff was not also trained. Now we are taking over 100 samples in a day”, he said.