Ex-Union Minister dies of Corona, 2 daughters test +ve

Top politicians, officers quarantined in Leh

Cop, 2 patients among 40 positive in Jammu

Sanjeev Pargal
Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, June 2: In a major lapse on part of the administration, nearly 150 persons including top politicians and some senior officers in the civil administration and Health Department including Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh CEC-cum-Chairman, all four Executive Councilors, two former Ministers, an ex-Lok Sabha member etc had to proceed on home quarantine following violation of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in shifting the body of former Union Minister which was allowed to be taken home after death but he later tested positive for COVID-19 late last night in Leh. The ex-Minister’s two daughters also tested positive for the virus today.

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The district administration Leh has ordered a high-level inquiry into the handling of the body of former Union Minister, who happened to be tall leader of the Congress in the Union Territory of Ladakh and had died yesterday at the age of 83.
In Jammu, a Principal Secretary-rank IAS officer, who was primary contact of IAS positive officer, tested negative today. Report of his two Assistants whose samples were also taken this morning is awaited. A total of 40 persons in Jammu region today tested positive for Coronavirus.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the former Minister reached Leh from New Delhi on May 28. In the wee hours of June 1 morning, he developed certain complications at his residence and was rushed to SNM Hospital in Leh where he was declared as brought dead at 5.30 am. However, authorities allowed his body to be taken home in Leh town after taking sample for COVID testing.
As per the protocol, the body was to be kept in mortuary of the hospital till report of the sample.
As the news of senior Congress leader’s death spread, number of people including prominent persons and some senior officers in the administration visited residence of the former Union Minister to convey their condolences to the family.
Locals including prominent Congress leaders also visited residence of the party leader.
However, everyone was stunned when late last night, report of the Congress leader’s sample tested positive for Coronavirus. But by then, the damage had been done as the administration had allowed body to be taken home and people including prominent personalities visited to pay their homage.
Late last night, authorities swung into action and started isolating the family members and contact tracing of the former Central Minister.
Today, around 150 people including the CEC, his four Executive Councilors, two former Ministers, one ex-Lok Sabha member, several prominent Congress, BJP and religious leaders and some officers of civil, police and Health administration who had either visited residence of the deceased or were involved in dealing with the body were sent on home quarantine. Some doctors and para-medical staff of the SNM Hospital, who had attended the deceased, have also been quarantined.
Health Department took samples of all family members and many other VIPs who had come in contact with the late Congress leader. In the evening, two daughters of the leaders tested positive for the virus while two family members reported negative. Reports of several other samples were awaited while samples of more contacts of the Corona positive will be taken tomorrow.
This is the first Corona casualty in the Union Territory of Ladakh, which has 81 positive cases and 33 active cases. Forty seven Corona patients have been treated and discharged. There are seven active cases in Leh and 26 in Kargil district.
A number of VIPs who had to go into quarantine charged the district administration of Leh with committing “serious lapse” by allowing body of the former Minister to be taken home without awaiting report of the Corona test. They demanded action against the officers of the civil administration for their “inept handling” of the situation.
District Magistrate Leh Sachin Kumar has, meanwhile, constituted a three member Committee to enquire into lapses in protocol in handling COVID suspect and body. The Committee comprised Sonam Chosjor, Assistant Commissioner Development, Leh, Tsewang Gyaltson, Chief Planning Officer, DC Leh office and Manzoor-ul-Haq, Deputy CMO Leh.
The Committee has been asked to submit report within two days.
Meanwhile, 40 persons today tested positive for Coronavirus in Jammu region including two patients, one of them a pregnant woman, who had returned to Sunderbani after medical check-up in the Government Medical College (GMC) Jammu and a police constable posted in the District Police Lines (DPL) Udhampur.
District Magistrate Udhampur Dr Piyush Singla told the Excelsior that a police constable of the DPL Udhampur and a food handler deployed at TCP Udhampur have tested positive for COVID-19 during random sampling at the District Hospital Udhampur.
“The cop was on duty at one of the Quarantine Centres. Samples of all police personnel deployed at the DPL Udhampur will be taken,” Dr Singla said.
A 28-year old female banker at Noida in Uttar Pradesh, who had returned to her residence at Bantalab by air, 23-year old boy of Domana with travel history of Ludhiana, 36-year old man from Akhnoor with travel history of Kerala, a 51-year old female from Durga Nagar, a 29-year-old woman, an 80-year old woman from Palath, a 60-year old female from Bishnah and 26-year old youth from Akhnoor, all in Jammu district tested Corona positive today.
All of them had returned by air and trains and were under administrative quarantine at various places. They have been shifted to COVID Hospitals.
A pregnant woman from Nala, Sunderbani and a male from Sial Sui, Sunderbani in Rajouri district, who had returned after check-up at the GMC Jammu, tested positive for the virus today. Their contact tracing is on for quarantine and sampling, SSP Rajouri Chandan Kohli said. Their source of infection is also being traced, he added.
Another person of Kalakote in Rajouri district who had travel history of Mumbai has tested positive. All three Corona positives of Rajouri have been shifted to the GMC.
A total of nine persons today tested Corona positive in Poonch district including a pregnant woman from village Behara Jhallas. Her husband is driver of Tavera vehicle which runs between Poonch to Jammu but was currently off the road. Seven persons hailing from village Bedar and Sabjian in Mandi tehsil of Poonch district, who had returned from different States and were under administrative quarantine, have also tested positive for the virus, SSP Poonch Ramesh Angral said.
Nine persons tested positive in Ramban district and they were either the stranded persons who had returned from across the country or contacts of such persons. They have been shifted from the quarantine centres to the COVID hospital.
An ultrasound clinic in Ramban was today sealed as a pregnant woman tested positive earlier had visited the clinic for ultrasound.
A 21-year-old youth with travel history of New Delhi tested positive in Samba.
As per official figures, Jammu region now has 642 patients. Of them, 503 are active cases while 135 persons have recovered and there are four deaths.
Meanwhile, as part of evacuation of people of other States and UTs stranded in Jammu and Kashmir, 2 Shramik special trains carrying about 3537 migrant workers left from Katra for Chhattisgarh today.
With this, the total number of outbound migrant workers who have been sent back to their home States and UTs through Shramik special trains from Katra since May 19, has reached 35022 till date.
The Government has evacuated about 1,06,102 JK residents, stranded in other parts of the country due to COVID lockdown, via Lakhanpur and through special trains and buses till date.