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Covid-19 cases soar up in J&K as large number of travellers arrive

Last Updated on April 2, 2021 at 12:05 pm

Jammu and Kashmir authorities have been alarmed as Covid-19 infection numbers again soared up. Government authorities have to tackle this new challenge even as tourists continue to flow in from various parts of the country.

Health experts have apprehensions that mutated strains of the virus which have been detected in 18 states, could have entered J&K through tourists even though the government is telling otherwise. Health department director Mushtaq said that two tourists have been suspected to carry a UK strain, two South Korean and one Bangladeshi but it is not confirmed.

Health experts say that this recent high increase in covid cases could be caused by an inflow of travellers and migrant labourers. Earlier, tulip and almond parks were opened for public this month and winter sports summit was organised in Gulmarg last month. This has attracted a large number of tourists to J&K.

Dr Parvaiz Kaul, a leading Internal and Pulmonary Medicine expert said that a significant number of travellers are coming to J&K and they are not asked to show RT-PCR report. This would have reduced numbers of covid cases otherwise. When a person comes to know that he/she is positive, they have already met many people and as a result, there is an increase in infection cases.

As Covid numbers have continuously increased for some time, the government has put Srinagar district in orange category (medium risk). Of all cases registered in J&K, Srinagar contributes to around 40% every day. Other 19 districts in J&K are still in green category (safe zones). Two smaller regions namely Lakhanpur and Banihal from where travellers enter into J&K have been categorised as sensitive red zone.

An increase in number of covid cases was noticed from third week of March. Daily covid infections were very low in starting of this year. J&K registered around 2,900 cases in the last 15 days.

Dr Nisar ul Hassan of the Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) said that only 5% of the total population has received at least one dose of vaccine. Only 1% of the population in Jammu and Kashmir has been fully vaccinated (received both doses) so far.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data states that Jammu and Kashmir has administered first dose of Covid-19 vaccine to 6,34,953 people by March 30. The figure represents 5% of J&K’s 1.3 crore population. Full vaccination (both doses) has been given to 1,42,895 people.

He said that at least 70 percent of the population should be vaccinated if we want to fight current health crisis. When a majority of people are vaccinated then it becomes very difficult for virus to find any host to survive, replicate and move on to a new person.