Anantnag, Dec 3: Even as Jammu and Kashmir government has formulated a strict COVID mitigation plan, travellers entering Kashmir through the Srinagar- Jammu National Highway in the evening and during night hours are going untested for coronavirus.
In April this year, following the spike in COVID cases in Kashmir, J&K government had established a COVID testing facility at Lower Munda near Qazigund in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Testing at this facility was being conducted between 8 am and 6 pm while evening and night travel helped travelers to enter Kashmir untested.
A month later after Greater Kashmir carried the story on many infected travelers entering Kashmir the government directed for round-the-clock testing.
However, a few months back as the cases started decreasing, the testing facility was again reduced to barely eight hours of functioning.
“As of now, we are carrying Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) of mostly unvaccinated travelers from 9 am to 5 pm,” Block Medical Officer (BMO), Qazigund Dr Zahoor Ahmad said. He said almost 600 tests were being conducted daily.
“ None of the travelers has tested positive in the recent past,” Dr Zahoor.
A health official said that all the passenger vehicles that arrive after 5:30 pm till 9 am the next morning get through without getting tested at all.
“There situation around COVID is once again alarming. So not testing all travellers can prove to be disastrous,” the official said.
Another official said testing the travellers entering Kashmir in these specific eight hours, and allowing them to go untested for the rest of sixteen hours is “beyond understanding”.
Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Dooru, Ghulam Rasool Wani admitted that they are able to conduct COVID testing from 9 am to 5 pm only due to cold weather conditions.“A good number of travelers have been tested,” he said.