Srinagar: Strict restrictions on movement and assembly of people to curtail the spread of coronavirus continued even as rapid antibody testing has begun in ‘Red Zone’ areas in Kashmir valley, where authorities have acted tough on people misusing movement passes.
Meanwhile, the district administrations in Kashmir valley have been directed to ensure proper functioning of non COVID health institutions so that people do not face any difficulty in view of lockdown to curtail the spread of coronavirus.
Over 30 movement passes issued to officials and others were cancelled on Monday in Srinagar after being found to be misused during Deputy Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary ‘s surprise inspection around the city. The Coronavirus cases in Kashmir valley has crossed the 300-mark on Monday while four people have died due to the infection so far.
Officials told UNI that restrictions remained imposed since March 18 to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Kashmir valley. “Main roads in most places in the valley remained sealed while barriers were erected at other places to check unwanted movement of people,” they said, adding all roads leading to areas, which were declared as ‘Red Zones’ after several COVID-19 positive cases surfaced from there, also remained sealed.
Shops and business establishments remained closed while streets were deserted due to strict restrictions imposed by authorities to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the valley.
The streets in uptown and civil lines were deserted as shops and business establishment were closed and traffic was off the roads. Security forces were deployed in these areas, where people alleged that security personnel were not allowing them to move out of their houses. Similar situation was witnessed in downtown, where people also alleged that they were not allowed to move out of their houses even to buy groceries and vegetables.
The Srinagar DC has issued strict warnings against violations of restrictions as ordered in the district. He directed for strict implementation and adherence to all restrictions ordered until May 3.
He also reiterated instructions to agencies to ensure strict restrictions on movement and public activities in all Red Zone areas. He directed to ensure that no one – except designated officials on duty there – is allowed to move in or out of these areas.
They said authorities have begun the use of Rapid Antibody Test kits in the Red Zones areas across the valley to check the community spread of the disease. J&K on Saturday received its first batch of rapid testing kits. Of the 12,000 kits, 9,000 have been earmarked for Kashmir and 3,000 for Jammu.
Bandipora is the worst COVID-19 hit district in the Union Territory of J&K with over 90 positive cases and one death. Of these, over 36 per cent of positive cases have been reported from Dangerpora in Bandipora, prompting authorities to put about 150 people in hospital and administrative quarantine. The rest of the people from Dangerpora have been put in home quarantine.
Officials said that 80 Red Zones were identified in Kashmir Division and that such areas will remain red zones up to 42 days, unless no new positive case of COVID-19 is detected. “If any new case is detected in these areas, then from that date, the area will again remain a red zone for another 42 days,” they added.
Similar reports of lockdown were received from other parts of the valley, including Kupwara and Baramulla in north, Budagm and Ganderbal in central and Anantnag, Pulwama Kulgam in south Kashmir