Restrictions intensified in Kashmir following detection of 4 more coronavirus cases

Total number of affected persons rise to 11

Restrictions intensified in Kashmir following detection of 4 more coronavirus cases

Security personnel stand guard in a street during the complete lockdown, imposed in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Jammu. — PTI

Srinagar, March 26

The restrictions on the movement and assembly of people to contain the spread of the coronavirus were intensified in Kashmir on Thursday, in the wake of four more positive cases detected in the valley on Wednesday, taking the total number of affected persons to 11, officials said.

Of the eight persons who had earlier tested positive for COVID-19 in Jammu and Kashmir, one died on Thursday.

The restrictions on the movement and assembly of people continued for the eighth consecutive day on Thursday, the officials said.

They added that the authorities tightened the curbs across the valley as four more positive cases—all from Bandipora district—were detected on Wednesday.

The security forces sealed off many roads and erected barriers to check the movement of people across the valley.

Police vehicles fitted with public address systems went around the residential areas of the city and elsewhere in the valley late on Wednesday as well as on Thursday morning to announce that restrictions under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were imposed and advised people to stay indoors.

The police were also using drones to announce the restrictions on the movement of people in some parts of the city, the officials said.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a countrywide lockdown on Tuesday evening, the Union Territory administration here had announced a lockdown across Jammu and Kashmir till March 31 on Sunday as part of its efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Essential services, including healthcare personnel, are exempted from the restrictions.

The administration has urged people for cooperation and warned them of action for violating the prohibitory orders.

The district administrations have put in place a mechanism to ensure uninterrupted supplies and delivery of essential services to the public. Essential commodities will be home-delivered to the residents as part of the mechanism.

However, there were reports of violations of the prohibitory orders at several places across the valley, following which the police took action by arresting several people and seizing their vehicles.

The markets across the valley were shut and public transport was off the roads with only pharmacies and groceries allowed to open, the officials said.

Educational institutions are closed, while all public places including gymnasiums, parks, clubs, and restaurants have been shut down more than a week before the nationwide lockdown announced by the prime minister.

Restrictions were first imposed in many parts of the valley on last Thursday to contain the spread of the virus. The measures were taken after a 67-year-old woman from the Khanyar area of the city, who had returned from Saudi Arabia on March 16 after performing Umrah, tested positive for COVID-19. 

Suspected coronavirus patient left Srinagar hospital for home after stray dogs entered ward: Family 

A woman, who had returned from Europe last week and admitted to a hospital here with symptoms for coronavirus, left the facility for home after stray dogs entered her ward, her family said on Thursday, refuting the administration's claim that she had escaped.

"The claims of the administration that they had tracked her are nothing but lies. We had to take her out of the Chest Disease Hospital at Dalgate at 3 am as there were stray dogs in the ward where she was admitted," a relative of the woman told PTI.

He said the woman had cooperated with the authorities ever since she returned home. 

 "She was checked at the airport and asked to go home. We kept her in isolation, but she developed some symptoms on Tuesday, and we called the COVID helpline. An ambulance arrived, and she was taken to the CD hospital where she was admitted," he said.

The relative said the woman called home around 2.30 am on Wednesday night, saying she was scared as several stray dogs had entered the ward. 

"We tried to convince her to stay but she was a nervous wreck. Finally, we went to hospital and brought her home," he said. 

 The family contested the claims of the officials that they had tracked her down.

"We took her to SKIMS hospital on our own in the morning around 8.30 am where she is currently admitted," he added. 

The family also contested the claims of some doctors at the Chest Disease Hospital that samples were collected from her. 

"If they had collected any samples, where are the reports then?" he asked.

The relative said while the government was issuing advisories against revealing the names of those suspected of having the coronavirus, all the details about the woman were leaked to the media.

"You name the locality where she lives and the country she came from. And then expect no one will know who she is. Are they so naive?" he asked.

An officer in the cyber crime department urged people not to reveal identity of coronavirus positive cases—living or dead—on social media.

"Please don't share names and pictures of #COVID2019 suspects, positive or fatality. This act of yours attracts legal action. Behave sensibly and responsibly," Kashmir cyber police officer Tahir Ashraf tweeted, adding "Putting such information openly on social media platforms is punishable under law".

After a radio jockey posted on Twitter the alleged escape, Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary had responded by saying "Tracked. Admitted again. Legal action to follow."      

The deputy commissioner did not respond to repeated calls to seek his comment on the allegations levelled by the family. 

The administration claims that more than 150 persons, accused of hiding travel history, have been traced and admitted to various quarantine facilities.

"Control Room traced 152 undeclared cases of perons returned from UAE, Iran,Hungary,Taiwan,Malysia, Combodia, Italy,Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Malaysia,Kazakhstan. Put under quarantine.We continue to request people to come forward and self-report. Help docs,Urself,family & society," Chaudhary said in a tweet.


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