Jammu and Kashmir reported 149 fresh Covid-19 infections and three deaths in the last 24 hours, health officials said on Saturday. Of the total cases, 119 were reported from Kashmir valley and while the Jammu division saw 30 infections. All three fatalities were reported in the Kashmir division. Summer capital Srinagar had the highest number of cases at 42, followed by 23 cases in Baramulla and 19 in Budgam. As many as 16 districts saw single-digit or zero cases.
Srinagar also has the highest number of active cases at 596 followed by Baramulla and Jammu districts with 363 and 136 active cases respectively. The number of patients who were cured in Jammu and Kashmir was 141 with active positive cases reaching 1,724. The government’s daily health bulletin also said that 37,732 vaccine doses were administered taking overall doses administered in the UT to 1.651 crores.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday urged officials for an increase in testing with a minimum 30% share of RT-PCR tests. The data revealed that the number of deaths due to the novel coronavirus disease this month has reached 38 – the highest monthly count in the past four months.
The Union territory is witnessing over 180 average cases daily since November 17 from the 136 daily average cases which were recorded between November 1 and 16. Last month, the average number of daily cases in J&K stood at 91. Even though the number of average daily tests in the union territory went up by 14 percent in the past 10 days than the period of November 1-16, the lieutenant governor on Friday urged officials to further increase the testing rate. Sinha reviewed the Covid situation with deputy commissioners, superintendents of police, and health officials at Raj Bhavan.
“During the meeting, the Lt Governor directed the health department and district administrations to increase testing with a minimum 30% share of RT-PCR tests,” the government’s information department said in an emailed statement. An analysis of the government’s daily health data on Covid-19 reveals that Jammu and Kashmir recorded 3,988 infections from November 1 to 26 of which 1805 cases or 45 percent were reported in the past 10 days (November 17 to 26). Most of the cases in the Union territory this month came from the Kashmir valley with 3,377 infections. The month has already crossed October’s 2,819 cases mark and is almost equal to September’s 4,011 cases and August’s 3,957 cases.
The month is also taking a heavy toll in terms of deaths due to Covid-19. So far, 38 people – 29 in Kashmir and nine in Jammu – have lost their lives between November 1 and 26, the highest monthly fatalities in the past four months. There were 30 fatalities due to Covid in August and 10 each in September and October.
Experts are sounding the alarm over the increasing cases and higher hospital admissions, particularly in Kashmir. Professor Dr. Mohammad Salim Khan, head of the department of community medicine at Government Medical College, Srinagar, and nodal officer Covid attributed the rise to uninhibited social gatherings and lack of Covid appropriate behavior.
“Majority of infected persons attributed their source of infection to social gatherings like marriages, condolences, get-togethers where you find almost everyone without masks and never suspect any Covid-19 cases around when you have a majority of cases without any symptoms who roam around without masks,” said Khan in a social media post.
“Kindly wear a mask, maintain social distance and break the chain of Covid-19 transmission,” he said. L-G Sinha also expressed dismay over the flouting of permitted limit rules on social gatherings.
“The L-G asked the respective DCs and SPs to ensure that Covid protocols and measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus are followed in letter and spirit,” the government statement said.
Sinha impressed upon the Deputy Commissioners and health teams to ensure rapid vaccination, covid appropriate behavior, community awareness, and quick execution of micro-containment zones to tackle the surge in certain districts.
“We can effectively prevent the spread and recurrence of the pandemic only by strict implementation of Covid guidelines,” he said and asked the DCs to complete the pendency of the second vaccination dose, wherever due, at the earliest.