Violation of SOP as meetings held after officer was sampled
Jammu reports single day highest 75 cases
JAMMU, May 31: Eighty six persons including many top IAS/KAS officers, some of them in the ranks of Principal and Commissioner Secretaries, were identified as contacts of a top bureaucrat, who had tested positive for Corona yesterday, and were sent for home quarantine while Jammu region today witnessed single day highest 75 COVID cases including 47 in Ramban and 23 in Doda districts, taking total number of cases in the region beyond 550.
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An Advisor’s wife and son, who had tested Corona positive few days back and were admitted in Narayana Hospital at Kakryal Katra, were discharged today after testing negative twice, officials said.
Flying Escort Gypsy driver of top bureaucrat in the rank of Financial Commissioner today tested Corona positive after his return from Anantnag district in South Kashmir where he had gone for Eid celebrations at home. He had parked the Gypsy at Anantnag District Police Lines (DPL), where some of cops had already tested positive. On his return, he was sampled at Nagrota and today he tested positive. However, the driver, a resident of Nawabad, Sunjwan, hadn’t come in contact with the Financial Commissioner after his return from the Valley as he had been sent into administrative quarantine.
A police personnel of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) who had been working in Establishment Section at the Central Office of the Organization here and had returned after celebrating Eid with his family at Kulgam in South Kashmir, also tested positive today. He was putting up at Government quarters in Rehari.
A person from Chowki Chowra in Akhnoor kept police on toes for over eight hours and was traced at Mohalla Paharian in Jammu City tonight where he was hiding after testing positive. He works in Ware House and his contact tracing is on.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the administration has identified around 45 contacts of a Corona positive senior IAS officer in Jammu and 41 in Kashmir in the rank of Principal Secretary, Commissioner/ Secretary and Secretaries among others, and asked them to quarantine at home. Majority of them are officers and officials besides the family members.
“All contacts of the bureaucrat have been traced within few hours and sent for home quarantine,” sources said, adding they were around 45 in Jammu including top bureaucrats, officers/officials, family members and personal staff. The bureaucrat was late last night shifted to Narayana Hospital at Kakryal in Katra.
Seven senior bureaucrats who were today sent on home quarantine for being contacts of the positive IAS officer included three in the rank of Principal Secretaries, one Commissioner/Secretary, a senior Commissioner and two Secretaries.
After attending the meeting with the IAS positive, the senior officers had proceeded to their houses and were with their families whose family members are in Jammu. However, families of some of the officers were not here, sources pointed out.
In Srinagar, sources said, the Corona positive IAS officer had chaired meetings at Srinagar Airport and one each at Civil Secretariat Srinagar and Divisional Commissioner’s office and he had 41 primary contacts there including top bureaucrats and officials, all of whom have been sent on quarantine.
They include a Principal Secretary, four Secretaries, three senior IAS officers, Airport officials, paramilitary official, senior officials of the Health Department and prominent functionaries of Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
Two senior officers in Kashmir, both IAS including a District Magistrate were sampled this morning and both of them tested negative for the virus. One of them was primary contact of the IAS officer while another one was secondary contact.
Yesterday, a top bureaucrat, a Financial Commissioner, a Principal Secretary, another senior IAS officer in Disaster Management Authority, a KAS officer, the GMC Jammu Principal, Director National Health Mission, Director Health Services Jammu, Managing Director Medical Supplies Corporation, Microbiologist, Epidemiologist etc had gone on home quarantine after the IAS officer tested positive as all of them had attended meeting with him.
Crew of the flight from Srinagar to Jammu in which the senior IAS officer was on board is also likely to be quarantined. Other passengers of the flight have already been sampled and were under administrative quarantine. The administration has written to the Airlines authorities for quarantine of the staff.
Sources confirmed that as per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the J&K Government, the bureaucrat on his return from Srinagar and sampling at the Airport had to be quarantined till report of his test was available. Or he had to isolate himself at the house till the report and carried out work of urgent nature from home.
“The SOP has been clearly violated in this case,” they pointed out but declined to elaborate as to how it happened.
The administration will now face tough time as top bureaucrats will have to work from home till their quarantine period is over.
To prevent spread of Coronavirus, sources said, the Government should act tough and ensure that no travellers by air, trains, private vehicles etc return home without sampling and administrative quarantine from any of the routes,
Meanwhile, 47 patients today tested positive for Coronavirus in Ramban district, the single highest for any district of Jammu region in a day.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Ramban Dr Fareed Bhat told the Excelsior that majority of those who have tested positive today were returnees from different States and their contacts. Most of them were under administrative quarantine.
Dr Bhat said they were being shifted to dedicated COVID hospitals for treatment.
Doda district also recorded 23 Corona positive cases today, seven of whom were drivers from Kishtwar district and had been sampled at Doda. Though most of them were under quarantine, some of them had been released from the quarantine and sent home after completion of their time period.
All of them were being traced for hospitalization. Their contact tracing is also on, sources said.
Police parties led by Additional SP Doda Raj Singh Gouria were engaged in tracing contacts of the positive cases.
Lt Col Inam Danish Khan, Classified Specialist (Microbiology) in the Command Hospital Udhampur said they detected a total of 73 Corona positive cases today including 47 in Ramban and 23 in Doda besides two of Jammu and one Kathua.
The Command Hospital has conducted total of 22986 tests so far and, of them, 342 tested positive, Lt Col Khan said.
District Magistrate Kathua Dr OP Bhagat said two returnees of the district tested positive for COVID-19 today. Both of them were under administrative quarantine, he added.
Jammu region’s total Corona cases today surpassed 550.
Meanwhile, on Day 7 of resumption of operation of domestic flights in the Union Territory, 16 flights with 1695 passengers on board today arrived at Jammu and Srinagar Airports.
A total of 341 passengers aboard 6 regular commercial flights arrived at the Jammu Airport while 10 flights including 2 Air India International flights with about 1354 passengers on board landed at Srinagar Airport today.
The Government has evacuated about 102,972 JK residents, stranded in other parts of the country due to COVID lockdown, via Lakhanpur and through special trains and buses till date amid strict observance of all necessary guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures.
As per the official data received in this regard, the administrations of Jammu and Kashmir districts have received 38 COVID special trains from different States and UTs, so far, with about 30,383 stranded passengers while about 72,589 persons have been evacuated by the Government through Lakhanpur till date.
As many as four trains are scheduled to leave for Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh on 2nd and 3rd June from Katra Railway Station carrying the migrant workers belonging to these States.
On 2nd June, two trains will depart for Raigarh in Chhattisgarh. The first train would leave at 1 pm and would pass through Delhi-Katni- Shahdol-Anuppur halting at Bilaspur and Champa. The second train will leave at 5 pm and would pass through Delhi-Bhopal-Nagpur halting at Raipur, Bhatapur, Bilaspur and Champa.
On 3rd June, the first train will depart at 1 pm for Raigarh in Chhattisgarh and would pass through Delhi-Katni-Shahdol- Anuppur halting at Bilaspur and Champa. The second train will leave at 5 pm for Anuppur in Madhya Pradesh and would pass through Gwalior-Sagar-Anuppur halting at Gwalior and Sagar.
Curbs extended till June 8
The UT administration today extended the Coronavirus lockdown until June 8 and said the Centre’s new guidelines on some relaxations require a fresh assessment of the spread of COVID-19 in the Union Territory.
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The Union Home Ministry has said ‘Unlock-I’ will be initiated in the country from June 8 under which the nationwide lockdown imposed since March 25 will be relaxed to a greater extent, including opening of shopping malls, restaurants and religious places, even as strict restrictions will remain in place till June 30 in the worst-hit areas.
In an order, Chief Secretary and Chairperson, State Executive Committee, B V R Subrahmanyam said the guidelines or instructions issued on May 19 and 24 with regard to lockdown would continue until June 8.
Referring to the fresh guidelines issued by the Union Home Secretary yesterday for Containment Zones (Red Zones) till June 30 and reopening certain activities in a phased manner in areas outside Containment Zones, the order said it requires a fresh assessment.
“Whereas these guidelines require State and UT governments to assess the current spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and based on this assessment, prohibit certain activities outside the containment ones or impose such restriction as deemed necessary, which will require a detailed assessment and consultations on the spread of COVID-19 in J&K,” the order said.