Night travellers on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway go untested

“This week around eight passengers have tested positive for the virus,” BMO, Qazigund Dr Zahoor Ahmad told Greater Kashmir.
Night travellers on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway go untested
However, this week the number of travellers tested remained on the lower side as the road first remained closed for traffic for three days and later partially restored.File/ GK

Anantnag: As the COVID19 third wave is being witnessed across the country, at least eight travellers who entered Kashmir through the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway have so far tested positive for coronavirus on Rapid Antigen Test (RAT).

However, those travellers reaching the Kashmir region during evening and night hours go untested for coronavirus.

“This week around eight passengers have tested positive for the virus,” BMO, Qazigund Dr Zahoor Ahmad told Greater Kashmir.

He said the infected were directed to go for home isolation. “Initially Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) of 400 travellers were being conducted, mostly unvaccinated ones every day at Lower Munda toll plaza. But ever since there has been a spike in the number of cases in India, the testing has increased,” BMO said. He said when the traffic flow is good, even 1000 tests are conducted in a day from 9 am to 6 pm.

Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Dooru said that the testing has been stepped up and even vaccinated travellers are being tested now.

However, this week the number of travellers tested remained on the lower side as the road first remained closed for traffic for three days and later partially restored.

An official questioned the move to test travellers during specific hours.

“Testing travellers entering the Valley in these specific hours, and allowing them to go untested for the rest of fifteen hours is beyond understanding,” he said. The official said as the infection rate is very high so not testing everyone can prove to be a disaster.

In April last year, following the spike in COVID cases in Kashmir the J&K government established a testing facility at Lower Munda near Qazigund in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. The scheduled testing hours were from 8 am to 6 pm and most of the travellers managed to enter the valley untested.

A month later this newspaper carried a news report on many infected travellers entering Kashmir which prompted the government to conduct round-the-clock testing.

However, as the cases started coming down the testing facility was again reduced to barely eight hours.

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