108 new COVID-19 cases, highest in 34 days

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J&K is witnessing a steady rise in the number of fresh COVID-19 cases, a trend that has necessitated increase in vigilance and testing. Today, 108 people tested positive, the highest for a single day since 21 January.

Government has issued instructions for starting RT-PCR COVID-19 testing at Srinagar and Jammu airports. The directions have come in view of the threat of the new mutated COVID-19 strains that are emerging from various parts of the globe and the rise in the number of overall cases domestically.

Financial Commissioner (FC) Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo said approximately 15 percent of the samples taken at the two airports would be tested using RT-PCR. He said a proportion of the samples that are found positive would be sent for genome sequencing to keep a vigil on the circulating strains.

The FC said all people coming into the UT will continue to undergo testing, irrespective of the mode of transport. “We have asked for arrangements to test passengers at railway stations and at bus stops as well,” he said. He said the preventive measures will remain the same as have been in place for the past year. However, he said, the department was “fine tuning” the response based on the emerging trends in the pandemic.

Meanwhile a team deputed by GoI for a review of the COVID-19 containment measures. The team is expected to arrive on Friday for a three day tour during which they will visit “emerging hotspots”, Dr Qazi Haroon, nodal officer for COVID-19 at Kashmir’s health directorate said. The teams have been sent to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and J&K.

On Thursday, 108 new cases were reported from J&K. The number of fresh cases reported today was the highest in the past 34 days, steadily rising for the past 10 days. Of the new cases today, 37 were travelers, sampled upon their arrival into the UT from outside.

Kashmir division’s new cases among non travelers and travelers both, is higher than that of Jammu division.  26 travelers in Kashmir division and 77 fresh cases total were reported today. In the past two weeks, 627 cases have been reported from Kashmir division and 193 from Jammu division.

A senior health official however said that there was no visible change in the number of positives from Kashmir division except among the travelers. “If we take the travelers out, the number of cases is steady,” he said.

He said the number of travelers arriving in Kashmir was higher, contributing to the higher number of positives.