Panic grips Kupwara after 6 COVID-19 cases

Panic has gripped this northern Kashmir district after six COVID-19 cases were reported while the sub district hospital is struggling to cope with emerging crisis.

To stop spread of the infection, the administration has declared many areas as red zones, while as restrictions have also being imposed.

The administration has designated 100-bed hospital here as a COVID-19 centre.  So far samples of 22 people have been taken including six from border town of Tangdhar.

Residents here alleged lack of facility at the SDH Kupwara. “The hospital is facing acute shortage of doctors and paramedical staff which has resulted in hardships to patients who are forced to visit Srinagar hospitals,” said Muktar Ahmad Rather.

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the residents alleged they were not provided proper care. “Designating a building as COVID-19 hospital without required facility means nothing in this crisis,” said Abdul Jabber Lone. “For sample collection we have to travel long distance to Baramulla.”

The hospital, according to doctors, is equipped with one ventilator and caters to 120 villages having eight lakh population.

The doctors are also complaining of lack of protective gears. “We have been left at the mercy of God,” said another doctor.

Chief Medical Officer, Kupwara, Kunsar Amin said: “We are using all resources at our disposal in this hour of crisis and administration is fully supporting us.”

Red Zones

While there are nakas on roads and announcements are being made urging people to stay indoors, the administration on Sunday declared several areas red zones in the district.

Officials said villages like Baghbella, Tangdhar and quarantine centre at ITI Handwara have been declared as red zones while as the areas adjoining to these villages are buffer zones.

“The inhabitants of these areas shall also restrict their movement and shall not allow relatives/visitors to visit their homes without written permission of administrator concerned,” reads an order issued by Deputy Commissioner Kupwara Anshul Garg. “Consequently there shall be no inward or outward movement of any person(s) from said spots and the people shall stay indoors as there will be complete lockdown in both the places”.

It reads that the administrators shall be assisted by BDOs and all the officers of the line departments to ensure availability of basic facilities including food grains, LPG and medicines, in the red and buffer zones.

“They shall promptly respond to medical emergencies and the BMOs shall dedicate one ambulance each for their respective areas,” it reads. “Any person/group/organization found involved in the breach of this order shall be booked under relevant laws.”