Srinagar: As the COVID19 cases continue to decline, J&K, as per directions of the Union Health Ministry, is putting in a mechanism to keep the Reproductive (R) Factor low in the UT – to decrease the spread from infected people.
In the past two weeks, the COVID19 cases reported in a day have almost halved in J&K. On 14 July, just over 160 cases were reported, about 140 lower than 198 reported on 01 July. The positive percentage has dropped to 0.27 from over 2 percent a month ago. The trend is in consonance with the lowering positive percentage across India. This has prompted the government of India to issue directions to all States and Union Territories to guard against complacency which it apprehends could lead to a future surge.
As per a letter dated 14 July sent to J&K among other UTs and states, “blatant violations of COVID19 norms have been observed in several parts of the country, especially in public transport and at hill stations”. Increase in R factor, the letter says, is a matter of concern in some states.
Dr Rouf Hussain Rather, a Social and Preventive Medicine Expert working in Divisional Covid Control Room said that the R Factor is a measure of how many individuals an infected person has infected.
A low R factor, he said, would mean a low infection spread among the contacts and in the community. “In Kashmir, our emphasis has increased on contact tracing. An effective contact tracing means we are able to track, test and if needed isolate contacts who may be a source of infection to others,” he said.
Dr Rather said it was important to consider the R number variable which included public behaviour, the virus transmissibility and the number of tests carried out on the right candidates.
It may be noted that COVID19 restrictions were eased in J&K and most of the barred activities have now been permitted, including entry to restaurants and public parks.
The GoI letter has warned against laxity and complacency that creeps in as positive cases decline and efforts, during current times, must on averting future surge in numbers.
It has sought states and UT level directions for management of crowds and holding the officers at the district levels “personally responsible” for any violations in the COVID19 appropriate behaviour. “Testing needs to be continued with the same vigour as adequate testing is extremely essential in checking the virus and early identification of the cases,” reads the letter.
The letter has asked for strict adherence to five-fold strategy – Test, Track, Treat, Vaccination and COVID Appropriate Behaviour.