No inbound traveler to leave Srinagar airport until COVID-19 test report received

Incharge Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary issued directions for putting in place required measures to avert spread in the Kashmir division

Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday said that inbound travelers wouldn’t be allowed to leave the Srinagar airport until their COVID-19 test report was received.

In a meeting convened here as part of the preventive plan in view of reported spike in COVID-19 cases outside J&K, the Incharge Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary issued directions for putting in place required measures to avert spread in the Kashmir division, read an official handout.

He directed for strengthening the preventive mechanism at the Srinagar airport instructing the Srinagar and Budgam district administrations to set up additional coronavirus testing facilities there and to enable quick receipt of test reports.

Dr Shahid instructed that no inbound traveller be allowed to leave the airport until their COVID-19 test report is received directing that test reports be issued on the spot before letting the travellers go, read the statement.

The instructions, as per the handout, also come in the wake of a recent trend within Kashmir which shows greater number of infections in travellers compared to local cases of COVID-19 infections.

Speaking during the meeting, the Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Samir Mattoo said the situation surrounding COVID-19 in the division is positive, adding that the transmission rate is also quite low. He observed that stricter measures at the airport are important to avert rise in infections within the division. 

“It has been decided that those travellers whose reports come positive would be isolated in order to prevent transmission and spread of the infection amongst the local population. Relevant protocol as given in the COVID-19 SOP manual will be followed in the case,” added the handout.

The meeting was informed that those with 48-hour-old RT-PCR negative reports from their departing cities will not have to undergo testing at the Srinagar airport.

It was informed that the rise in positive cases as reported in some states outside J&K along with the recent trend finding more infections in inbound travellers has necessitated taking these preventive measures as directed.

Additional District Magistrate Srinagar and Nodal Officer COVID-19 Mitigation Operations Srinagar Masarat Hashim, State Surveillance Officer IDPS and Nodal Officer COVID-19 Control Room Kashmir Division Dr Talat Jabeen, Assistant Commissioner Revenue Budgam Raeis Bhat, Chief Medical Officer Srinagar Dr Jehangir Bakshi and HOD Social & Preventive Medicine GMC Srinagar Dr Salim Khan attended the meeting.

Incharge COVID-19 Testing at Srinagar airport, Epidemiologists Srinagar and Budgam and officials representing SKIMS Soura, SKIMS MC&H Bemina and GMC Srinagar were also present in the meeting.