Long queue at Lakhanpur, many return; business, yatra to be hit

Long queue of people for COVID testing at Lakhanpur on Friday. -Excelsior/Pradeep Sharma
Long queue of people for COVID testing at Lakhanpur on Friday. -Excelsior/Pradeep Sharma

One dies, 141 cases in J&K; 24 in Ladakh

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU/SRINAGAR/ LEH, Dec 24: Long queues were today again seen at Lakhanpur, the gateway to Jammu and Kashmir, in Kathua district as authorities started COVID testing of all passengers travelling in commercial vehicles leading to massive jams and enormous inconvenience to tourists including pilgrims of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji shrine.
Many tourists including the yatris were seen returning from Lakhanpur due to long queues and COVID testing which has potential to badly impact business as well as Mata Vaishno Devi Ji pilgrimage.
Experts were of the view that only three Omicron cases have been reported in entire Jammu region and all of them have already recovered. Moreover, on an average, 20-25 cases of COVID-19 are being reported only from the region which indicates that the virus is well under control.
“In such a situation when trade and yatra had started reviving, restrictions at Lakhanpur have the potential to deliver setback to both,” sources said.
Even on Day one of testing, many tourists including yatris coming from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana could be seen returning from Lakhanpur, they added.
Meanwhile, one person died of COVID-19 and 118 tested positive in Kashmir division today while 23 cases were reported from Jammu region and 24 in the UT of Ladakh.
Among 23 cases, 14 were registered in Jammu district, five in Doda and one each in Rajouri, Kathua, Poonch and Ramban.
Twenty nine persons recovered from the virus leaving number of active positive cases to 338.
Out of 24 cases in Ladakh, 18 were reported from Leh district and six in Kargil.
Ladakh now has 201 active positive cases including 154 in Leh and 47 in Kargil.
Addressing a press conference in Kargil, Hill Development Council CEC Feroz Khan and DC Santosh Sukhadeve called upon the people to observe COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) in view of surge in fresh cases in Kargil district.
They called upon the people to follow night curfew restrictions, were face masks and maintain social distancing.
Meanwhile, Kashmir today reported 117 fresh positive cases of COVID-19.
Those who tested positive include 58 from Srinagar, 7 from Baramulla, 8 from Budgam, 6 from Pulwama, 10 from Kupwara, 9 from Anantnag, 8 from Bandipora, 10 from Ganderbal and 1 each from Kulgam and Shopian.
The number of cases in Kashmir division has reached 214,463 including 211,048 recoveries and 2,323 deaths.
The number of active cases in Jammu and Kashmir are 1,317 including 979 from Kashmir division.
With 142 more recoveries, the tally of total recoveries in Jammu and Kashmir has reached 334,598 which is 98.28 percent of the total cases.