Srinagar, Nov 30: The Union Territory of J&K has geared up to deal with the possible challenges in the wake of the new COVID-19 variant as the Health & Medical Education (H&ME) Department has passed on directions aiming at taking up several preventive measures across J&K.
In this regard, Additional Chief Secretary, Vivek Bhardwaj told Excelsior that the directions have been passed for strengthening the surveillance mechanism which was already in place across J&K.
“We were already carrying out the RT-PCR tests of foreign travellers, however, the directions have been passed to strengthen the same in the wake of the new variant which has been designated by the WHO as the variant of concern,” he said.
The Government will also be taking steps to establish the quarantine facilities where those who will have to undergo the necessary quarantine will be kept there for the period as per the guidelines already laid down.
“We will be identifying such spaces, both Govt as well as private in order to facilitate those who have to necessarily undergo the quarantine period after reaching J&K,” Bhardwaj said.
About earmarking the beds in hospitals in case patient load increases, the Govt said that there are already 2 dedicated hospitals in place one in Srinagar and another one in Jammu and further steps will be taken in this direction as well.
“If the need arises, the concerned Divisional Commissioners have been directed to make sure that a sufficient number of beds are made available to deal with any situation,” he said.
Earlier, Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta had chaired a meeting with the concerned officials and passed directions for taking up several steps particularly effectively testing the foreign travellers in the wake of the new COVID variant.
As per the guidelines for people coming from foreign countries, the thermal screening would be carried out in respect of all the passengers by the Health officials present at the airport while the self-declaration form filled online shall be shown to the airport health staff.
The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening will be immediately isolated and taken to a medical facility as per health protocol. If tested positive, their contacts shall be identified and managed as per laid down protocol.
Also, as per the guidelines that will be followed, if such travellers are tested positive, their samples should be sent for genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network.
With regard to the contacts of such positive cases, the guidelines will be kept under institutional quarantine or at home quarantine monitored strictly by the concerned State Government as per laid down protocol.