Covid surge: 64-hour lockdown clamped in Jammu and Kashmir

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Covid surge: 64-hour lockdown clamped in Jammu and Kashmir
© Provided by Hindustan Times Police stationed at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk as weekend lockdown is imposed in J&K on Friday. (ANI Photo)

As Covid-19 cases continue to show spike, a 64-hour lockdown began in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday.

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Police started imposing restrictions in the Srinagar and other townships of the Valley in the afternoon. At some places, policemen used force to clamp curbs. The restrictions will remain till Monday morning.

This is the third weekend since J&K started observing Covid restrictions, especially after the third wave began in the UT earlier this month.

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As per experts, cases in J&K have already peaked and after some time, infections could start declining across the UT. For the past two days, the number of recovered patients is more than those testing positive.

“We witness dozens of positive cases daily. The good thing is that severity of the disease as compared to first two waves is very less. Though this time too, we come across sick patients who needed hospital care and ICU support,” said Dr Javeed Ahmad, a senior doctor at the government medical college of Baramulla.

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On Friday, Jammu and Kashmir recorded 4,354 cases and five fresh deaths due to Covid, an official health bulletin said.

As many as 5,850 patients recovered, the second time this month that the number of recoveries was more than new infections.

On Tuesday, the union territory had breached all records since the pandemic began with 6,570 infections while 14 persons had lost their lives to the Covid-induced illness, highest daily fatalities since June.

The month of January so far has contributed more than 83,000 cases and 119 deaths with the last 10 days mostly adding around 5,500 to 6,500 cases every day.

Before this month’s surge, the highest coronavirus cases reported in the union territory were 5,443 and 50 deaths on May 7 when the second wave had peaked. The first wave had peaked in September 2020 reporting the highest surge of 1,698 cases and 10 deaths on September 12.

The active cases in the union territory were 45,156, which were 1,501 less than Thursday’s 46,657 figure. On December 31, the union territory just had 1,337 active cases.

Officials said 72,041 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours in the UT.

Of the total infections on Friday, Kashmir valley saw 3,932 cases and two deaths while 1,918 cases and a single death was reported in the Jammu division.

In J&K, the surge was high in most of the districts in Kashmir with Srinagar witnessing the highest 914 cases.

In the Jammu division, the Jammu district reported 763 cases. Srinagar is the district with the highest number of active cases at 13,829 followed by Jammu and Baramulla districts with 6,502 and 6,043 such cases, respectively.

However, of the 5,038 beds dedicated for Covid patients, just over 10.83% are occupied in J&K.

The overall number of people who have recovered reached 3,74,282 while the recovery rate stood at 88.01%. Since the pandemic started, the total cases in J&K have crossed 4-lakh mark to reach 4,24,085 and the death toll is 4,647.

The Jammu district has the highest number of 1,195 fatalities followed by Srinagar with 896 deaths.

LG reviews Covid situation

Lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha on Thursday reviewed the Covid situation in Jammu and Kashmir and stressed for the involvement of people in awareness campaigns to combat the pandemic.

He impressed upon the officials to ensure proper implementation of Covid norms among the people.

The Lt Governor was briefed about the Covid containment measures taken at the district level including functionality of war rooms, Covid helplines, IEC campaign regarding Covid appropriate behaviour, distribution of Covid kits, besides facilities for extending assistance to people in need, an official statement said.

The LG also took stock of the vaccination drive for the 15-18 age group and the precaution dose for healthcare and frontline workers as well as for those over 60 years of age with co-morbidities.

Deputy commissioners and other officials concerned were directed to widely publicise Covid helpline and other emergency contact numbers, the statement said.

10 more Omicron cases detected in HP

Himachal Pradesh reported 10 more cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, taking the total number of such infections to 25, director, national health mission, Hemraj Bairwa said on Friday.

He said a total of 127 whole genome sequencing (WGS) reports were received from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Delhi. “Among these WGS samples, mutations have been found in 10 samples,” he said.

The 10 cases include one each of international travellers from Kangra and Mandi districts. The remaining eight cases were sent from sentinel sites that belong to Kangra.

These samples were taken from patients testing positive for Covid between December 15 and December 31. The patients have since recovered.

“Till now, total 25 cases of Omicron have been found in the state. Initially, Omicron variant was reported only among international travellers, but now this variant has been reported from the community also,” he added.

Bairwa appealed to the public to follow 3Ws — watch your distance (more than 2 metres), wash your hands and wear a mask — to prevent the infection.

Himachal forest minister among 1,843 new Covid patients

Himachal Pradesh forest minister Rakesh Pathania is among 1,843 people testing positive for Covid as the state’s total case tally climbed to 2,67,577. The death toll mounted to 3,961 after nine patients died of the viral infection.

“My Covid report has turned out to be positive. I am going into home isolation for seven days. Those who came in my contact recently must monitor their health and take the test if symptoms appear,” Pathania wrote on his Facebook Page.

Earlier, Pathania’s staff had been tested positive for the virus on January 19. He had also attended a district-level Republic Day programme at Nahan in Sirmaur district. Health authorities are tracing his contacts.

Meanwhile, Kangra recorded 371 cases on Friday. As many as 276 cases were reported from Solan, 259 from Mandi, 181 from Hamirpur, 176 from Shimla, 152 from Sirmaur, 130 from Una, 126 from Bilaspur, 69 from Chamba, 66 from Kullu, 35 from Kinnaur and two from Lahaul-Spiti.

Four fatalities have been reported from Kangra, three from Mandi and one each from Bilaspur and Hamirpur.

Active cases have come down to 9,752 after 2,417 people recuperated, taking the total recoveries to 2,53,840.

Kangra is still the worst-hit district having recorded 59,528 cases since the outbreak followed by Mandi with 36,464 cases and Shimla 33,649.

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