Covid cases are slowly swelling in Jammu and Kashmir. There has been a 200 percent increase in Covid infections in the union territory in the past 10 days as compared to 10 days earlier.
From 97 overall cases in the union territory from June 5-14, the infections shot up to 304 from June 15-24, an analysis of daily official health data revealed. Three deaths were reported in the last 10 days while no death was witnessed before that for around two months.
“There is a mild increase in cases. The disease caused by the variant, which possibly is a variant of Omicron, is self-limiting with fever, sore throat and body aches and a person gets fine within a few days,” said Dr Mohammad Salim Khan, head of community medicine at government medical college, Srinagar and nodal officer for Covid.
What is worrying, however, is that the cases are increasing without any substantial increase in the testing rate. The region conducted 97,897 tests from June 5-14 while 98,954 tests were done from June 15-24. The test positivity rate for the last 10 days has increased to 0.30% from 0.09% for 10 days before that.
Dr Khan, however, said that since the variant is not causing any severe disease, people are not going for testing. “People aren’t much concerned as mostly it causes upper respiratory tract infection. That is why testing is less,” he said. The doctor also said that there is no increase in hospitalisation rate. “The spike is there but there is no crisis situation,” he said.
However, he urged people to go for testing if there are any symptoms and wear masks in crowds. “It is always better to go for precautions,” he urged. The authorities have also urged the elderly to go for the third vaccine dose against the disease.
“It is right time to take the precautionary dose for senior citizens as it boosts immunity and enhances protection against Covid,” said the Twitter handle of Covid-19 Control Room-Kashmir in a tweet early this week.
The third wave of Covid had peaked in January and ebbed by February-end. The active cases in the union territory reached 250 on June 24 of which 62 are in Kashmir and 158 in Jammu. So far, the UT has detected 4,54,677 cases, of which 4,755 people have succumbed.
J&K on Saturday reported 65 fresh cases of Covid-19 virus including 46 cases from Jammu and 19 cases from Kashmir. Notably, Jammu district has reported 38 cases of Covid-19 which is highest among all the districts followed by 18 cases from Srinagar district.
Five cases have been reported from Samba while two cases were reported from Udhampur and one each case was reported from Poonch and Baramulla districts. Meanwhile no fresh case was reported from 14 districts across J&K. “Cases will rise but will come down. Maximum cases are reported from Jammu but there is no severity in these cases.
There is no rise in hospitalisation as well,” MK Dwivedi, Principal Secretary Health and Medical Education (H&ME) said. He said all the Covid-19 cases are omicron variant but still the administration has enhanced the testing facilities.
“On June 24, out of 58 cases only one infected case was a traveler which means that infection is spreading within families here. from this point of view, there is no chance of high alert,” he said.
He said the administration has enhanced surveillance as people have become casual in following SOPs and other protocols. “We will push for wearing masks and adherence to other measures as well,” he said.
He said the government was not in position to impose restrictions as it will impact the local economy which “has improved over the past months due to the tourist inflow.” “Lockdown directly impacts the economy so we do not want the economy to get affected. But we are closely watching the situation. we conduct around 10,000 tests on a daily basis,” he said.
He however said, the government is mulling to have proper screening of international flights which will start from July. “As of now no international flights land at Srinagar Airport but these flights will start from July 2 and we will accordingly start screening of these flights to check if there is entry of any new variant of Covid-19 virus,” he said.