Number of Red Zones in J&K reaches 45

With a sharp increase in number of Covid-19 cases, number of Red Zones declared by the administration in Jammu and Kashmir has also witnessed an increase, touching 45. As per officials, out of these, 26 Red Zones are located in Kashmir division while rest are in Udhampur, Rajouri, Samba and Jammu.

A senior official said the number of Red Zones, an area which is a cluster of positive Covid-19 cases, has seen a spurt during last few days. Use of technology such as Geo-tagging is helping in exact identification of the affected areas, the official said.

“We are regularly updating the Covid-19 affected Red Zones on our official website for public information. As of now, we have 39 identified Red Zones in rural areas of J&K. Six Red Zones fall in Srinagar district,” said an official from Remote Sensing department, which is undertaking the Geo-tagging process of the affected areas. “Keeping in view patient privacy, we don’t reveal the exact location of the house of the patient on the website but mark only the wider Red Zone,” the official said.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang Pole, told Greater Kashmir that administration is ensuring that a strict lockdown is observed in all the Red Zones identified by the government. “We are making all efforts that inward and outward movement of people in the Red Zones in both urban and rural areas is completely restricted. We are hopeful that this step will help in the drive against spread of Covid-19,” Pole said.“ This also helps our civic bodies in sanitisation of the affected areas and the health department in tracking down the residents who may develop symptoms of Covid-19,” Pole said.

The Div Com said officials of the Forest Department are also playing an important role in identifying the Red Zones through Geographic Information System. “DFOs are assisting the Deputy Commissioners with the GIS technology used to locate the red zones and surrounding areas. At the divisional level, we have created a control room at Old Secretariat where round-the-clock monitoring of the Red Zones is taking places,” Pole said.

Apart from Red Zones, areas surrounding these “hot-spots” are being identified as containment and buffer zones. Explaining the process involved in identification of these areas through GIS, Remote Sensing Department official said after receiving the data of Covid-19 positive cases from Health Department, the affected areas are located from satellite and GIS data. “The exact location of the affected patient marked by Geo-tagging is known as center point from which 3 kilometer area is declared as a containment zone,” the official said.

He said the buffer zone in rural areas are the localities falling within 7 kilometers from the center point. For urban areas, 5 kms from the center point or the actual location of the positive case is declared as buffer zone, he said.

“In containment and buffer zones there are restrictions of people visiting their relatives and neighbours,” the official said.

Official sources told Greater Kashmir that Government of India is mulling that post April 14 when the 21-day lockdown concludes, restrictions will remain imposed in only declared buffer and containment zones while normal life will be restored in rest of the unaffected areas.