COVID-19: Restrictions tightened in Kashmir, aggressive contact tracing launched

Streets and markets remained deserted as restrictions on movement and assembly of people were further tightened on the 14th day of lockdown on Thursday in Kashmir, where authorities have launched aggressive contact tracing to curtail the spread of Coronavirus.
In view of more people testing positive for COVID-19, authorities said that restrictions will be intensified in about 25 areas in the valley, including Mehjoor Nagar, Natipora, Lal Bazar, Eidgah and Shalteng in Srinagar, which have been already declared as ‘Red Zones’ in the Valley.

Seven more persons tested positive for Coronavirus in Kashmir on Wednesday, taking the total number of infected people to 67.

Chief Secretary BVR Subhramanyam has directed all Deputy Commissioners to carryout aggressive contact tracing campaign and putting all such persons under quarantine after taking their samples as per health protocol.

He said movement on roads should be minimized further in order to contain spread of Coronavirus and asked to implement lockdown restrictions in ‘Red Zones’ in even more serious manner.

“Restrictions has been further tightened in 20 villages including Parray Mohala Hajin, Chandergeer Hajin, Batagund Hajin in Bandipora dist, Gudoora, Chandgam, Pinglena, Parigam, Abhama,Sangerwani and Khaigam in Pulwama, Waskura in Ganderbal, Sedew and Ramnagri in Shopian which were declared as Red Zones,” official sources told.

They said restriction has also been intensified in Mehjoor Nagar, Natipora, Lal Bazar, Eidgah and Shalteng in Srinagar and Chadoora in Budgam district which were also declared as Red Zones. “No one will be allowed in and out of these area,” they added.

Shops and business establishments remained closed while streets were deserted as locals voluntarily remained indoors due to scare following upward spiral in Coronavirus cases in the valley. Police vehicles fitted with public address system were directing people since early this morning to remain indoors in view of imposition of restrictions under 144 CrPc, barring assembly of more than three people.

The administration has asked the people to cooperate with it and warned of action against those violating prohibitory orders. Police has so far sealed many shops, hotels and educational institutes and arrested about 235 persons from Srinagar, Sopore, Handwara, Ganderbal and Anantnag in the valley since Tuesday.
Over 100 vehicles have also been seized by police since Tuesday. Police is using drones in some areas in Srinagar to announce restrictions on the movement of people as part of the 21-day lockdown to combat coronavirus pandemic.
A senior police official said anyone who tries to move on the highway, specially towards Jawahir Tunnel, in private vehicle without genuine pass, his vehicle would be seized and passengers will be quarantined for 14 days at the nearest centre.
Meanwhile, all educations institutes, including schools, colleges and universities, remained closed in the valley, where train services and public transport were suspended. However, despite government asserting that arrangements would be made for online classes for children no such arrangement has been made so far even as high speed internet service remained suspended since August 5, when special status of J&K was scrapped.