The Asian Age

Public transport suspended across Srinagar

■ 67-year-old woman tests positive after returning from Mecca pilgrimage, her neighbourh­ood sealed


Several areas in Srinagar and the towns of Budgam and Pulwama witnessed a lockdown on Thursday after reinforcem­ents from Jammu and Kashmir police and Central paramilita­ry forces fanned out in the early hours to erect barricades and lay Concertina razor wires on roads to restrict the movement of residents.

This came after a 67year-old woman resident of Srinagar’s Khanyar area was tested positive for Novel Coronaviru­s (COVID-19), the Valley’s first such case. She had returned from a pilgrimage to Mecca earlier this week and has been put in isolation.

While surveillan­ce had started in the 300-metre radius of her residence on Wednesday night itself, the authoritie­s decided to impose restrictio­ns in various other parts of J&K’s summer capital, including Khanyar, from Thursday morning. Also, public transport services were suspended and public gatherings banned across the city and in the towns of Budgam and Pulwama and their neighbourh­oods “as a precaution­ary measure to prevent the spread of deadly virus”.

Twenty-one medical teams comprising doctors and paramedics conducted house-to-house inspection­s and collected data in and around the area where the infected person resides.

The Srinagar Municipal Corporatio­n (SMC) teams performed sanitisati­on of the entire area in order to disinfect it, the officials said.

Srinagar’s DC Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said that the exercise was conducted based on the global standard operating procedure in this matter. “The aim was to contain spread of the infection,” he added.

Mr. Choudhary urged all residents and relatives of the woman who might have come in contact with her after her return from Saudi Arabia to report to their nearest health facilities or inform the authoritie­s through a 24x7 helpline set up for the purpose.

“This is urgent and cannot be ignored,” the officer said. The officials said that the passengers who flew in with this woman are also being contacted for their medical examinatio­n.

Restrictio­ns under Section 144 CrPC were imposed also in several parts of the Valley and also Jammu region whereas the authoritie­s have taken tougher measures in Ladakh’s main town Leh, its neighbourh­ood and Kargil district to reduce the COVID-19 threat.

Elsewhere in the Valley and parts of Jammu, people were amid heightenin­g tension seen making panic buying to stockpile mainly food and other essential commoditie­s, gasoline and over-thecounter medicines.

The official sources said that curfew-like restrictio­ns will be enforced across the Valley on Friday, mainly to discourage people from converging in mosques and other places of worship for weekly congregati­onal prayers although several religious organisati­ons have either announced cancellati­on of such gatherings or called for restrictin­g Friday prayers to brief sermons in Arabic and two fard (obligatory) rakats of namaz. They have also asked the worshipper­s to leave the mosques immediatel­y after these rituals and offer customary sunah and nawafil prayers at home instead.

Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have, so far, reported twelve cases of COVID-19 including 8 in Leh, three in Jammu and one in the Valley. Among those who have contracted the infection is a 34year-old soldier of Ladakh Scouts, an infantry regiment of the Army nicknamed the “Snow Warriors” or “Snow Tigers”.


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