Cases surge in Leh, 5 students among 28 test +ve; Centre writes to Ladakh Admn

Two die of COVID, 163 new positives in Kashmir

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU/SRINAGAR/ LEH, Nov 20: Two persons died of COVID-19 and 163 tested positive for the virus in Kashmir division while 24 new cases were reported in Jammu region today. The Union Territory of Ladakh recorded 28 fresh cases, 27 of them in Leh district alone including five students of a Government school.
As cases surged in Leh district of Ladakh, the Union Ministry of Health has written to the UT Ladakh administration for taking pre-emptive action to gain control over the situation.
Among 24 cases in Jammu region, 19 were reported in Jammu district alone followed by two in Reasi and one each in Doda, Kishtwar and Poonch districts while rest five districts of the region didn’t report any cases today.
However, in a good sign, as against 24 new cases, 34 persons recovered from the virus leaving behind number of active positive cases in Jammu region to 252.
Out of 28 new COVID positive cases in the UT of Ladakh today, 27 were reported from Leh district and one from Kargil.
Among today’s positives, five were students of Government School Tharook in Leh.
With this, number of active positive cases in Ladakh has gone up to 224 including 216 in Leh and eight in Kargil.
Meanwhile, witnessing a rise in weekly COVID cases, testing and positivity rate, the Union Health Ministry has written to administration in Ladakh urging them to take pre-emptive action to gain control over the situation.
In a letter to the Principal Secretary (Health) of Ladakh this week, Additional Secretary in the Union Health Ministry Arti Ahuja said the Union Territory has reported a 362 per cent increase in weekly new cases from 34 cases in the week ending on October 27 to 157 cases in the week ending on November 17.
It is also worrying to note that the Union Territory has exhibited an increase of more than 156 per cent in weekly positivity from 1.5 per cent in the week ending on October 26 to 3.9 per cent in the week ending on November 16.
“Further, worrying trends with regards to weekly cases, testing and positivity rate have been observed. Increase in number of weekly new cases: Leh district has exhibited a significant increase of more than 362 per cent in weekly new cases from 35 in the week ending on October 27 to 139 in the week ending on November 17. This is especially concerning given the geographical expanse of the district,” Ahuja said.
Leh has also recorded a 143 per cent increase in weekly positivity rate from 1.98 per cent in the week ending on October 26 to 4.81 per cent in the week ending on November 16.
Although there has been an increasing trend of weekly tests conducted in the Union Territory, a decrease has been noted in the proportion of RT-PCR testing. Kargil (26.8 per cent) has recorded less than the Government mandate of 70 per cent RT PCR contribution.
The officer advised to conduct a greater number of RT-PCR tests to capture a more accurate picture of the COVID public health situation in the Union Territory.
“It has been observed that cases surge exponentially where basic public health strategy (Testing. Tracking. Treatment, COVID-appropriate behaviour and vaccination) is not followed rigorously. The current trends of decrease in RT-PCR testing, increase in new cases and case positivity if left unchecked may lead to a situation where there is severe strain on the health infrastructure and health workforce,” Ahuja said in the letter.
In addition to strict compliance with basic health strategy, the Union Territory has been asked to ensure routine submission of RT-PCR positive samples from international travelers as well as from community for genomic analysis at the designated INSACOG network laboratory as per laid down protocols.
Additionally, positive samples from suspected vaccine breakthrough infections, super-spreader events and clusters of cases with high mortality and/or morbidity must also be sent for genomic analysis, the letter said.
Meanwhile, Kashmir reported 163 fresh cases of COVID-19.
The two persons were admitted to Srinagar hospital with COVID-19 infection and succumbed today taking the J&K death toll to 4461 including 2279 from Srinagar.
Those who tested positive include 61 from Srinagar, 56 from Baramulla, 8 from Budgam, 2 from Pulwama, 6 from Kupwara, 4 from Anantnag, 9 from Bandipora, 15 from Ganderbal, 1 from Kulgam and 1 from Shopian.
The number of cases in Kashmir division has reached 210,449 including 206,726 recoveries and 2,279 deaths.
The number of active cases in Jammu and Kashmir are 1,696 including 1,444 from Kashmir division.
With 158 more recoveries, the tally of total recoveries in Jammu and Kashmir has reached 329,046 which is 98.16 percent of the total cases.
In the meantime, three more areas were declared as containment zones in Baramulla district today.
These three containment zones include Dara Gutliyan Uri, Sangri Watlab Sopore and Jalal Abad (A) Sopore, Near Jamia Masjid.
The restriction order in this regard has been issued today by District Magistrate Baramulla, Bhupinder Kumar.
As per the order, there will be complete restrictions in these containment zones. These restrictions will include complete lockdown in the areas.
Moreover, tight perimeter control has been ordered in the area except for essential needs.
Besides, movement of the people in and out in the containment zones has been completely barred.
The authorities have also made testing and vaccination mandatory for the residents of the containment zones.
Meanwhile, SSP Baramulla and Sopore have been ordered for deployment of necessary manpower enforcement of restrictions.