COVID 19: Spread rate slows greatly in J&K; yet situation demands extra watchfulness: Kansal

Jammu: Principal Secretary, Planning, Development & Monitoring and Information, Rohit Kansal, who is also the J&K Government Spokesperson, today said that the COVID 19 pandemic spread rate has significantly slowed down in Jammu and Kashmir, even as there is no room for complacency and the situation demands extra watchfulness.

“We continue to have a number of red zones and we need to be ever alert and watchful. Premature exuberance or celebration can cost us very dear”, Kansal told reporters here at a press conference.

He said the government will further strengthen the surveillance system and procedure. “We are conducting a 100% Health Audit for the entire J&K using Swasthya Nidhi App. and the process is likely to be completed within next few weeks. We are strongly encouraging the use of Aarogya Setu App. and so far, more than 8 lakh users have installed the App in the UT”, he informed. However, he called for continuing self-restraint and observance of discipline.

“Our current position may appear comfortable but let me remind you that we are dealing with an unpredictable and dangerous enemy,” he said and observed that many neighbouring states have learned the hard way when they have seen their cases show a sudden jump e.g. when many of their returning citizens tested positive. We too have a number of students and labourers stranded outside the UT who have started returning back home. Stating that there is no room for complacency, he added that adequate precautions are being taken while allowing them inside the UT.

Giving details about general control measures, he said as of this moment, the total number of cases in J&K is 614 of which the number of active cases is 390. 384 of these are in the Kashmir Division and 6 in the Jammu division.

“As you are already aware, there have been 216 recoveries which include young children and we also have had 8 unfortunate deaths. Further, he said out of 70,000 (Sixty thousand) persons enlisted for surveillance, over 50000 (Fifty thousand) have completed the mandatory 28 days period of surveillance.

On the overall COVID situation, the UT has a good report card so far, he said and added: “The daily positivity rate has shown a downward trend and the doubling rate of positive cases has decidedly slowed down.” He said a report of this morning has shown that the UT’s testing rates continue to be among the highest while our percentage rise continues to be low resulting in a high doubling rate which is over 12 days. “Our mortality is just above 1%, which is quite low given the number of cases. The most notable part is that over 92% of the cases can be traced. All these are positive factors” he added.

He expressed gratitude to people for the excellent cooperation in restricting the movement and helping maintain an effective lockdown. “This has helped us to slow the spread of the virus and put in place a strong containment strategy,” he said and added that it has also helped to gain valuable time for building the capacities such as 17 Standalone/ dedicated COVID Hospitals, over 20000 Isolation Beds and nearly 50000 non-hospital quarantine beds.

He said UT is following an aggressive testing strategy and continue to be among the top few regions in the country in this regard. “While our testing capacity has expanded from 1 lab to 4 labs, the testing rate is now about 1500 per million, one of the highest in the country,” he informed. “We have also been continuously ramping up our facilities- we started with less than 100 tests daily; a few days ago we broke the 1000 tests per day barrier, he said and added “Yesterday we conducted 1800 tests and We will shortly break the 2000 tests/day barrier”.

The Press Conference was also attended by Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, Commissioner Secretary Industries; Bhupinder Kumar, Mission Director NHM and Dr. Syed Sehrish Asgar, Director Information and Public Relations. (GNS)