Authorities in Kashmir have intensified ground surveillance totrack travellers, who hid their recent travel history, to contain the spread ofcoronavirus, even as restrictions on the movement of people across the valleyremained in force for the 22nd consecutive day on Thursday, officials said
The tracking of those persons who have travel history but areabsconding is being taken up on a war-footing basis, the officials said.
These measures have been taken after a group of five persons, whohad travelled to an African country recently, tested positive for COVID-19.These persons were placed in administrative quarantine upon their arrival inKashmir last month.
They said ground surveillance teams in every district are beingstrengthened to trace such persons immediately so as to put them for properscreening and quarantine.
The steps are being taken after Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir,Pandurang K Pole, directed all Deputy Commissioners (DCs) in the valley totrack-down all absconding travellers on a war-footing basis in their respectivedistricts and put them in administrative quarantine.
Pole passed these directions while chairing a meeting late onWednesday to review preparedness and fool-proof arrangements to combatcoronavirus disease in the valley.
All Deputy Commissioners were asked to strengthen their groundsurveillance teams and trace the absconding recent travellers, of other statesand abroad visitors, immediately and put them for proper screening andquarantine, the officials said.
They said Additional Deputy Commissioners in each district havebeen put in-charge of contact tracing and they were following the mechanism asper the prescribed advisory.
The move came after the graph of positive cases of COVID-19patients in Jammu and Kashmir rose sharply on Wednesday as 33 new cases weredetected in the union territory, taking the total number of infected persons to158.
Meanwhile, the restrictions on the movement and assembly of peoplein Kashmir continued.
They said tight curbs were in place across the valley in view ofthe surge in the number of positive cases in Kashmir.
Security forces have sealed off the main roads in the valley anderected barriers at several places to check the unwanted movement of the peopleand to enforce the lockdown, the officials said.
The markets across the valley were shut and public transport wasoff the roads with only pharmacies and groceries allowed to open, they added.
Educational institutions across Kashmir are closed, while allpublic places including gymnasiums, parks, clubs and restaurants were shut downmore than a week before the nationwide lock down announced by the PrimeMinister.
While the Prime Minister announced the country-wide lockdown onthe evening of March 24, the union territory administration here had on March22 announced a lockdown across Jammu and Kashmir till 31 March as part of itsefforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The administration said the essential services includinghealthcare personnel have been exempted from the restrictions.
Restrictions were first imposed in many parts of the valley onMarch 19 to contain the spread of the virus infection. The measures were takenafter the detection of the first positive case of coronavirus in the valley.