Army Lt, BSF Insp, 2 CRPF jawans, journalist among 46 more test COVID +ve in Jammu, 11 treated

Passengers arrive at Jammu Airport on Monday.
Passengers arrive at Jammu Airport on Monday.

4 Orthopedics Ward patients in GMC Jammu turn positive

*J&K No. 1 in testing in country: Govt

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, May 25: The Coronavirus today spread further with 46 persons including five security personnel and four patients admitted in Orthopedics Department of the Government Medical College (GMC) Jammu testing positive taking number of COVID patients in the region during last two days to 98 and total to 337 even as 171 passengers landed at Jammu Airport and 130 at Leh as flights resumed after over two months of lockdown but the passengers were denied paid quarantine centres of their choices in Jammu and were forcibly driven to Katra by the administration.

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With five more security personnel including an Army Lieutenant, a BSF Inspector, two soldiers from CRPF and an Army jawan testing positive today in the region, a total of eight security men have become Corona patients during last two days as an Army Major and one each jawan of BSF and police had reported positive yesterday. Eleven Corona positives were treated and discharged today from the Chest Diseases Hospital, Bakshi Nagar.
A journalist from Press Trust of India (PTI) posted in New Delhi who had come to his house at Kanak Mandi in Jammu City on leave on May 22, has tested COVID positive. The 27-year old journalist was posted in PTI’s Mag Service in New Delhi and had come to meet his mother at Kanak Mandi Jammu on leave on May 22. He has been shifted to the Chest Diseases Hospital, Bakshi Nagar.

Govt spokesman Rohit Kansal addressing a press conference in Jammu on Monday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
Govt spokesman Rohit Kansal addressing a press conference in Jammu on Monday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

A 22-year old Army Lieutenant, who had returned from Dehradun, tested positive tonight for COVID-19 in Jammu. A 37-year old man from Muthi, 29-year old girl from Roop Nagar and 45-year old man from Jagti, Nagrota in Jammu district also tested positive for the virus. The 45-year old with travel history of New Delhi has become third person of Jagti, Nagrota to test positive, the previous two being females.
Ramban district reported 29 COVID positive cases today, the highest for single day in any district of Jammu region so far. Of them, 12 were travelers mostly students and 17 labourers, who had returned from different parts of the country in trains and buses and were under administrative quarantine at various centres.
Confirming 29 positive cases in a single day, District Magistrate Ramban Nazim Zia Khan said all of them were in quarantine centres and returnees from various States. They are being sent to the dedicated COVID hospitals.
Lt Col Inam Danish Khan, Qualified Specialist (Microbiology) in the Command Hospital Udhampur told the Excelsior that 34 samples were today tested positive for Coronavirus in the lab. The positives included 29 travelers and labourers from Ramban district and five from Reasi district, he said.
Four patients admitted in Emergency Ward of Orthopedics Department of the GMC Jammu as fracture cases have tested positive for Coronavirus, HoD Orthopedics Dr Sanjeev Gupta confirmed.
He said a total of five patients were admitted for surgeries of their fractures by the Orthopedics Department last Saturday. Their samples were taken for COVID before surgeries, he added and said, four of them tested positive for Coronavirus and were immediately shifted to Isolation Ward of the hospital.
“All of them hailed from different areas of Jammu,’’ Dr Gupta said.
GMC Medical Superintendent Dr Dara Singh said the Emergency Ward was closed for four hours after the patients were shifted to Isolation Ward and was sanitized and reopened later.
“A total of eight doctors, five Nurses and four Pharmacists, who had come in direct contact with the patients have been isolated and sent on quarantine and sampling,’’ Dr Singh said, adding the positive patients have been shifted to dedicated COVID Hospital of Gandhi Nagar. As most of them had no travel history, the doctors were ascertaining source of their virus.
As soon as report of four Orthopedic patients testing positive in the GMC Jammu came, one of the patients fled away from the hospital. Doctors immediately informed Bakshi Nagar police and teams led by SDPO Amit Sharma and SHO Karan Chalotra nabbed the patient and restored him to the hospital.
A PDD Lineman hailing from Marh and posted at Canal Road Office of Sub Division-II, Electric Division-III has tested COVID positive. The Association has decided that the office will remain closed from May 26-28 as both the Sub Division Offices are in the same building complex. The Linemen will work with their routine shift.
Meanwhile, two CRPF personnel posted in 84 and 187 battalions and residents of Lower Meer, Panchairi and Ladana in Udhampur district have tested positive for Coronavirus today. The 84 battalion jawan is posted at Satwari Chatha in Jammu and had travel history of Gurugram in Haryana. Both of them were shifted to Hospitals after their resports came positive.
An Army soldier from Itawa in Madhya Pradesh posted at Corps Battle School (CBS) Doda, who was under administrative quarantine at Bhadarwah, today also tested Corona positive and has been shifted to the Military Hospital Udhampur.
A BSF Inspector deployed in 72 battalion at Khanetar Nallah in Poonch district, who had returned from New Delhi after leave and was under quarantine, has tested positive for COVID-19. A 28-year old youth of Arai, Mandi in Poonch district with travel history of New Delhi too has tested Corona positive.
SSP Poonch Ramesh Angral said the Corona positives have been shifted to hospital under due protocol.
Five Reasi district positive cases included 28 year old male from Bagankote, Chassana, 20 years old female from Chassana, 22 years old male from Dandakot Chassana, 36 years old male from Aghar Jitto and 21 years old male from village Karua. They had travel history of New Delhi and Rajasthan and were under administrative quarantine at Navodya Vidyalaya, Kotli Manotrian in Katra town of Reasi district.
District Magistrate Kathua OP Bhagat said two workers hailing from Bani tehsil in Kathua district, who had returned from Maharashtra and were under administrative quarantine at Bani, have tested Corona positive. Both of them have been sent to hospital from the quarantine centre, he added.
Bhagat said six Corona patients patients of Kathua district were discharged today after treatment taking number of total recoveries to 12.
Five more patients, three from Samba district and two from Reasi district, were discharged today from the Chest Diseases Hospital, Bakshi Nagar, Medical Superintendent, Dr Rajeshwar Sharma said.
With 46 new cases and 11 recoveries, Jammu now has 337 total Corona cases. There have been 86 recoveries and three deaths.
District Magistrate Jammu Sushma Chauhan today declared Kalyanpur and Channu Mawalian villages under the jurisdiction of Kanachak police station, Municipal Ward 48 of Gorkha Nagar under Bahu Fort Police station, Simbal and Kharian villages under Miran Sahib Police Station and Ward Nos. 52, 53 and 54 of Trikuta Nagar as Containment/Red Zones after Corona positive cases were reported there last night.
Inward and outward movement of people from the Containment Zones will remain prohibited except for medical emergencies.
Meanwhile, flight operations started at Jammu Airport today with five flights landing at the Airport during the day, Airport Director Pravat Ranjan Beuria told the Excelsior.
He said 171 passengers reached Jammu Airport in five flights while 180 departed.
Three flights reached from New Delhi and two from Srinagar, Beuria said, adding in three flights from New Delhi 24, 27 and 83 passengers reached Jammu while in two Srinagar flights, 15 and 22 persons arrived.
As many as 29, 32 and 37 passengers left in three New Delhi bound flights from Jammu while 40 and 42 people left in two flights for Srinagar.
Divisional Commissioner Jammu Sanjeev Verma, Nodal Officer for Jammu Airport and Deputy Commissioner Jammu Sushma Chauhan were present at the Airport to supervise arrangements for arrival and departure of the passengers as flight operations resumed at Jammu Airport.
However, Excelsior received a number of calls from the residents of Jammu City and outskirts who landed at Jammu Airport from New Delhi that they were denied paid quarantine accommodation at Jammu Hotels and were forced to go to Katra.
“I wanted to stay in a Jammu Hotel. My father had already booked a room for me in a hotel on City’s outskirts. But I was told there was no availability of rooms in that hotel though the room had been booked on my name. I was forced to proceed to Katra,’’ a doctor from Gandhi Nagar said, and wondered why the administration should decide in which hotel the people should stay.
Leh Airport Director Sonam Norboo said two flights of landed at Leh Airport after more than two months from New Delhi carrying around 130 passengers. However, he added, there were only 20-30 passengers who departed in the flights to Delhi.
Meanwhile, 1582 stranded persons of Jammu and Kashmir reached Udhampur Railway Station today in two trains from Shalimar in West Bengal and Chennai in Tamil Nadu.
District Magistrate Dr Piyush Singla said 1009 passengers arrived in the train from West Bengal and 573 from Tamil Nadu.
Dr Singla said a total of 15,640 stranded persons have reached Udhampur so far in 20 trains from different parts of the country.
Meanwhile, residents of village Lawa Sarthal in Kishtwar district have voiced concern over mixing of some students at the quarantine centre, who were positive. They have demanded an enquiry into the incident which happened with students who arrived in a train from Nagpur on May 16.
Meanwhile, testing rate of over 10,000 per million  Jammu and Kashmir has now become number one in the country in testing. The testing capacity in the UT has gone up from just about 100 tests/day in March to 8000 tests/day today. In the last one month alone it has gone up from 1800 tests/day to 8100/day – an increase of  350%.
This was stated by Principal Secretary to Government, Power Development Department and Information, Rohit Kansal, who is also the official spokesperson at a press conference here today. He said that aggressive and sustained testing is the only effective weapon against the disease and the administration shall continue to pursue it effectively.
On the efforts to of the administration in combating the situation arising out of Corona Virus and the COVID 19 pandemic for the last more than 8 weeks, Kansal said that the Government has taken a slew of measures on the health, economic and welfare fronts. “Jammu and Kashmir was probably one of the first states or UTs to take note of the emerging situation and initiate action and many of our interventions have not only been been fast but effective too,” he said.
Kansal pointed out that while J&K had been able to achieve a low growth rate and a doubling rate of over 3 weeks, this should not become a cause of complacency.
Reminding that effective lockdown, strong containment policy, aggressive testing and cooperation by the people of J&K has played a key role in containment of COVID 19, the spokesperson said that there is no room for any laxity.
“What we now need is to understand that there are enough worrying factors in the situation. 15 deaths have been reported in last month alone. There is at least one district which has more than 200 active cases and at least one district with more than 150 active cases. There are at least 2 districts where the number of active cases per million are higher than 150. At least half of the districts have a doubling rate less than 14 days.  At least 2 districts have seen a considerable increase in cases even when there are no returnees. In fact, there are many areas where the positivity rate of cases is much higher for local population than for returnees.” he said and added that  a number of local, indigenous cases for which contact chains are not yet fully clear have also been reported which is a cause of concern.
He said that over 90,000 stranded persons have already returned to J&K in the last 4 weeks alone. They include 66024 persons by road, 25400 by 30 Shramik special and COVID special Rajdhani trains and 652 persons by air.
“J&K is the one State/UT which has smoothly completed more than 85% of its evacuation process. The Government has consciously adopted a policy of testing 100% of all returnees. All the returnees are being tested, and as a result of the strategy the administration has been successful in tracing 481 positive cases so far,” he aded. By testing people at the entry point we are ensuring that positive cases are traced and isolated at the entry point itself, thereby avoiding any infections getting into the community”, he asserted.
Emphasizing on the importance of economy and livelihoods, Kansal said that UT Government has issued SOPs for the reopening of markets, industry and trade. Similarly SOPs have been issued for returnees and passengers.
“But as responsible citizens we need to realize that any complacency or letting down of the guard can cost us very dearly. In red zones and containment zones, there is a need to be vigilant otherwise all the efforts of the last 2 months will be wasted,” he cautioned.
The spokesperson appealed people to stay at home and go out of their homes only if it is absolutely necessary and follow the advisories, wear a mask, and practice social distancing. “Remember, the virus is alive, it is active and it has given no relaxation.  So, our self restraint and discipline must continue,” he cautioned.