Restrictions on public movement and activities are being imposed in 88 areas notified as COVID19 red zones in Srinagar after a sharp spike in positive cases has been reported in the district in the last couple of weeks.
The decision to impose restrictions has been taken after recommendations of experts and is aimed at containing further spread of the COVID-19 disease, an official statement said.
District Magistrate Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary issuing orders in this regard has directed for sealing off all these 88 red zones with strict enforcement of restrictions on public movement and activities of all sorts.
Under these orders all these areas are being sealed off at all but one entry and exit. The concerned authorities have been directed to disallow all kinds of movement and activities in these areas. No one will be allowed to move in or out of these areas after this evening.
Latest guidelines as notified for management of red zones will be followed in these areas with all respective teams of management and enforcement authorised and equipped with all requisites to implement them in letter and spirit.
The administration has drawn maps of each of these red zones and sealing thereof will be done as per these maps. Each red zone will be sealed at 300-500 meters from spots where COVID-19 positive cases have been detected therein. Entries and exits of all these areas will be manned to ensure strict enforcement of restrictions on movement into and out of them.
Rosters of enforcement officials have been prepared for each of these containment zones and their entries and exits. Strict instructions have been issued for disallowing movement with the essential services officials to be allowed in these areas on production of movement passes the DM’s office has issued them.
To ensure there are no violations the district administration is exploring possibilities of installing surveillance cameras at entries and exits of red zone areas. Their connection with the central control room established at the DC Office once installed is also being explored — the aim being to ensure effective enforcement of containment plan through its monitoring at more than one level.
Meanwhile medical teams are also being deputed in each of the areas. Concerned block and zonal medical officers have constituted teams for each area falling within their respective jurisdictions. Contact tracing and testing of positive cases will make a chief part of the role the health department officials have been assigned in these containment zones.
The latter will be done in consultation with designated magistrates to ensure smooth and effective execution. The Chief Medical Officer Dr Jehangir Bakshi will be supervising efforts in this regard having been made responsible for overall management of health-related aspects of this containment plan. ICDS officials will also form part of these teams wherever required.
The administration has also drawn a sanitisation roster as part of this comprehensive containment plan it has prepared to contain further spread of COVID-19 in the district. The Srinagar Municipal Corporation will coordinate with the Health department to execute sanitisation of these areas as and when required.
The 25 zonal committees set up earlier during the COVID-19 lockdown have been reactivated and the concerned zonal officers have taken charge of duties as assigned to them as part of the containment plan. The new containment plan includes added roles and responsibilities and all these committees and officers stand briefed and equipped to handle them as required.
The Srinagar administration has also deputed magistrates to reinforce the enforcement plan that it has devised as part of this containment plan. Officers and officials requisitioned earlier under the disaster management act have also been recalled with the concerned departments asked to relieve them forthwith.
Meanwhile the departments concerned have been put on high alert with directions to alert their respective staff and make them available for containment duties if and when required. Orders have been issued for cancelling of all leaves government officials in the district have availed and recalling them all for duties.
The DM has also issued orders for strictest punishments under the disaster management act and other relevant provisions of the law to those violating preventive guidelines the government has issued for containment of COVID-19. He has directed for substantial fines in addition to other strict legal punishments to violators — those not wearing face masks or observing social distancing in particular.
The fine for face mask violations has been enhanced to 1000 rupees whereas the violation of social distancing guidelines in red zones will be fined at 10000 rupees. There will be other punishments too.
Dr Shahid said the number of COVID-19 positive cases and red zones has seen a sharp spike in recent weeks in Kashmir division adding that violations of face mask and social distancing among other preventive guidelines is believed to be a main reason for this rise in infected cases.
He said imposing restrictions has become indispensable in view of this fact which has started to burden the healthcare infrastructure in the capital district where patients from all over the division are received for treatment adding that the aim is to prevent further spread of the disease.
Speaking during his visit to various red zones where he inspected measures being put in place ahead of restrictions as ordered there he said restrictions in notified red zones are being imposed as part of a comprehensive plan which includes as a major part tracing and testing of contacts to assess the spread of COVID-19 in these areas and ensure timely treatment of those affected and containment of further spread thereof.
The restrictions will remain in force until further orders. The restrictions from these areas or others which might be added in future will be removed as soon as their de-notification as containment zones upon receipt of no fresh positive cases after a specified period of time. Meanwhile after improvement in their scenario and no reporting of fresh positive cases therein the Srinagar district administration has de-notified at least 24 areas of the district earlier notified as red zones.