Tribune News Service
Srinagar, March 18
Kashmir is bracing up for the threat of COVID but the authorities have failed to conduct a proper screening of people, especially those with travel history, to combat the spread of the virus.
People are travelling on trains or entering Kashmir through Jammu-Srinagar highway. In the past three days, screening at Srinagar Airport has been intensified but it is not stringent enough to detect the suspects of the virus.
A doctor and a paramedic were suspended on March 15, after a 30-year-old man with coronavirus symptoms reached Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura, without being screened at the Srinagar Airport. He was travelling from Dubai and went to SKIMS for treatment, maintaining that he was not screened at the airport.
A woman from Baramulla district, in her late 30s, said she was not screened at Srinagar Airport after flying in from Saudi Arabia.
“Her cousin brother came from China and brother from Bangladesh. Authorities just wrote down their address without screening them for coronavirus,” said a medico on the condition of anonymity.
The failure of the administration in putting up an effective screening for those entering Kashmir is attributed to the government’s decision not to include health experts in decision making on combatting the virus.
“We have to wait for directions from bureaucrats who know zilch about coronavirus or any health pandemic. We can’t work independently or give our suggestions,” a senior doctor told The Tribune.
He said it was unfortunate that patwaris and revenue officials had started screening people on their own, without following the procedures. “It is only adding to the chaos and panic among the public,” he said. A 63-year-old woman, who had travelled to Iran, tested positive for COVID and became the first case in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this month.
Doctors said she was diagnosed with coronavirus during a routine check-up at the Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu. “She was not screened at all anywhere on the airport. After her report came positive, many of us are still in fear that she must have infected us also,” said one of the medicos, who treated her in the medical casualty ward. Head of J&K’s Coronavirus Control Efforts, Bupinder Kumar, didn’t respond to repeated phone calls.
Laxity or administrative apathy?
- A doctor and a paramedic were suspended on March 15, after a 30-yr-old man with Covid symptoms reached SKIMS, Soura, without being screened at the Srinagar airport. He was travelling from Dubai and went to SKIMS for treatment, maintaining that he was not screened at the airport
- A 63-yr-old woman, who had travelled to Iran, tested positive for Covid and became the first case in J&K earlier this month
MC seals eateries for flouting closure order
- Srinagar: The Srinagar administration on Wednesday sealed a number of eateries in the city for violating the closure orders as they continued to function amid Covid threat.
- On Tuesday, the administration had announced a slew of measures such as closure of restaurants, cafes and ban on social gatherings with immediate effect. However, officials said during the field visit, they saw many eateries functioning in violation to the directions.