Covid19: Hamlet turns hotspot in south Kashmir

Fear grips residents as positive cases jump to 12
Covid19: Hamlet turns hotspot in south Kashmir

Lying deep inside the orchards and known for potato cultivation, Hirpora, a village along the historic Mughal Road, has fallen in silence today.  The only sound that breaks this silence is the occasional announcements made on loudspeakers telling people to stay indoors.

The village has emerged as one of the COVID19 hotspots inKashmir. On Friday, eight from this village tested positive for coronavirustaking the total number of infected persons to 12.

"This is worrisome," said a medic, who is part of the teammonitoring the situation in this small rural hamlet. "Our top priority is tostop the spread of the virus," he said.

The first corona case from this village of over 4000 soulswas reported on April 8. The patient had returned from Maharashtra days beforethe lockdown.

In the next few days, the cases started to rise making thevillage, which falls ahead of a famous wildlife sanctuary, one of the 70 redzones in Kashmir.

"Initially we took 14 samples of persons who had returnedjointly from Maharashtra, said a health official. "Ten of them tested negativeand four positive for coronavirus," he said.

"Even those negative are in a quarantine facility for abouta month now," the health official said adding a team of doctors is monitoringthem.

He said, among the eight people who tested positive onFriday is mother of one of the four who had earlier tested positive. "The sevenother positive cases are all contacts of previous four cases," an officialsaid.

He said, a 13-year-old boy, a maternal cousin of one of thefirst four positive cases has also contracted the virus. "Fifteen more, mostlyfamily members of positive cases were taken to quarantine facilities aftereight new cases emerged. The remaining are in-home quarantine," said anotherhealth official.

He said the family members of all positive contacts havebeen strictly asked to be under home quarantine.

"Their samples have been collected for testing," said ahealth official. He said today 53 samples of the contacts of positive caseswere collected from the village alone.

"Although the previous four infected person had been inquarantine around a month, but with eight of their contacts testing positivenow the alarm bell has already started ringing.

"This indicates that the community transmission has alreadyhappened in this village," a medico explained.

The village has been completely sealed as fear strickenvillagers remain unsure what lies in store for them.  "Everyone here is in panic," said Ajaz AhmadSheikh, village Sarpanch. He said no one is stepping out of their houses noteven daring to attend to their orchards or potato farms.

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