4 die in J&K, 444 test +ve
*Rail services to resume from July 1
JAMMU/SRINAGAR/ LEH, June 23: First case of the Delta Plus variant of Coronavirus, classified as a variant of concern, has been detected in Jammu while four persons died of virus-two each in Jammu and Kashmir divisions and 444 others tested positive today.
Government Medical College (GMC) Jammu Principal Dr Shashi Sudhan Sharma told the Excelsior that authorities are verifying the details to ascertain if the patient, who was detected as first case of Delta Plus variant, is a traveler or a local. She advised people to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour, saying there is no room for laxity.
The case has been found in the Katra township of Reasi district, she said.
“We are regularly sending our samples (to National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi) for (genome) sequencing. A new type of variant called Delta Plus or variant of interest has been detected in some parts of our country and one such case has been detected from Katra,” Sharma said.
Katra serves as the base camp for the pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine atop Trikuta hills.
She said though it looks that the COVID cases are declining in Jammu and Kashmir “we cannot take the things lightly and everyone should follow the COVID-appropriate behavior seriously”.
“There is no room for laxity. We have to stop the transmission chain of the new variant and we have to finish it in its host,” Sharma said.
Meanwhile, the investigation is underway into a complaint about the abrupt disruption of oxygen supply for nearly eight minutes to over a dozen COVID patients at the GMC hospital here last week.
“An FIR under Section 440 (mischief to cause hurt or death) of the Indian Penal Code was registered on the complaint of Assistant Executive Engineer, Mechanical Division, Rajiv Gupta, about the stoppage of oxygen supply to the Isolation ward on June 16 for a few minutes,” SDPO Bakshi Nagar Rahul Nagar confirmed.
Nagar said the investigation is in progress but no arrests have been made so far.
Hospital authorities said there was no death due to the supply disruption.
Vijay Chouhan, who was attending to his COVID-positive brother at the hospital on that day, said the oxygen supply to the ward stopped around 11.20 am, causing panic among the people including doctors, paramedical staff and the attendants.
“Luckily, there was no harm to the patients,” he said, demanding a thorough probe and fixing of responsibility in the case.
The hospital has already conducted an internal inquiry.
In Jammu region, an 83-year-old man from Rehari Colony in Jammu district and 60-year-old woman from village Gundi in Rajouri district died of COVID-19.
Among 138 persons who tested positive for the virus in Jammu region, highest 25 cases were detected in Doda, 23 in Rajouri, 20 Jammu, 18 Reasi, 17 Poonch, nine each Kishtwar and Udhampur, eight Ramban, six Kathua and three in Samba district.
As against 138 fresh cases, 250 persons today recovered in Jammu region which now has 1,18,665 Corona cases including 2505 active positives, 1,14,081 recoveries and 2079 casualties.
In the Union Territory of Ladakh, 33 persons tested positive—26 in Leh and seven in Kargil while no Corona casualty was reported today.
Ladakh now has 360 active positive cases.
Meanwhile, Kashmir today reported 306 fresh cases of COVID-19 while two persons succumbed to the viral infection.
Srinagar reported 98 cases, Baramulla 34, Budgam 40, Pulwama 40, Kupwara 25, Anantnag 40, Bandipora 17, Ganderbal 19, Kulgam 11 and Shopian three.
Moreover, 839 more COVID-19 patients have recovered and were discharged from various hospitals including 589 from Kashmir division.
Authorities today extended the suspension of train services from Banihal to Baramulla and vice versa in Kashmir Valley to June 30. However, from July 1 onwards, train services from Banihal-Baramulla and vice versa shall be allowed with 50% capacity.
An official said that Railway authorities have taken the decision on the request by the J&K administration and have subsequently informed the field agencies about it.
On May 10, the authorities suspended the services In view of the covid-19 situation in Kashmir Valley and as per the guidelines and SOPs issued by the government. Later, it was extended from time to time.
The decision had followed huge rush of passengers at stations amid continuing increase in the number of Covid cases.
And in order to safeguard the lives of people and contain the spread of Covid-19 infection, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Srinagar, Mohammad Aijaz Asad today said that all unvaccinated persons visiting any Shopping Store/ Complex/ Malls will have to undergo Covid-19 testing.
The DC said this during a media brief adding that the exemption shall be given only in certain specific cases. However, vaccinated persons having certificate copy in hard or soft form shall be given priority entry at all business establishments, government offices, etc.
He said that this is important in the interest of the larger public so that no Covid-19 infected person puts the lives of other persons at risk.
The DC stressed that no positive person should mix with other people and said necessary action under law will be taken against such cases.
He urged the general public to cooperate with administration in strict adherence to Covid-19 SOPs to save themselves, their family and whole society from infection of deadly coronavirus.
The DC reiterated his statement that Covid vaccination and Covid Appropriate Behavior are the weapons to defeat Covid-19 pandemic. He urged all left out eligible persons of the district to get vaccinated at an earliest to make Srinagar district a safe place with regard to Covid-19 amid predictions of third wave by the medical experts.