Overseas traveller isolated after testing positive on arrival at Srinagar Airport

60 travellers with history of foreign travel quarantined in 24 hours
Overseas traveller isolated after testing positive on arrival at Srinagar Airport
Institutional quarantine facility for overseas travellers at Sanat Nagar convention hall.Aman Farooq for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: A Kashmir resident who returned from Saudi Arabia on Wednesday has tested positive for COVID19 and has been isolated at DRDO COVID19 Hospital in accordance with the fresh guidelines. Meanwhile, 60 people were put under quarantine during the 24 hours preceding this report.

After J&K Government initiated the implementation of mandatory quarantine and testing of all travelers with a history of visit to outside the country on December 1, 60 people have been sent to various public and private facilities.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Syed Haneef Balkhi said one of the travelers stayed at Sanat Nagar marriage hall, while others stayed at hotels notified for quarantine by the District Disaster Management Authority Srinagar. He said as more flights arrive, the number of people under quarantine was increasing. “We have already allowed all the travellers who had arrived on Wednesday, to leave after their test reports were available,” Balkhi said.

However, one of the travelers, who was under quarantine at a hotel on Boulevard, has tested positive. A health official said that the traveler, a 42-year old male, was arriving from Saudi Arabia and was sent to DRDO Hospital Khanmoh for isolation as per the guidelines of J&K Government. Dr Abdul Rashid Parra, Medical Superintendent DRDO Hospital said the positive case has mild symptoms of COVID19 and his sample would be sent for Genomic Sequencing to one of the INSACOG Labs by SKIMS Soura (where his sample was tested) to find out if he is infected with Omicron variant. “We have isolated the patient in a separate ward and he is under observation,” Balkhi said.

Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Mushtaq Ahmed said 30 travellers were put in isolation after their arrival at the Srinagar Airport on Thursday. He said the testing of all the samples from travelers with foreign history was being carried out on fast track. “We are trying to ensure the minimum waiting time for the passengers and currently, they are allowed to leave for home quarantine in less than a day,” he said.

The Government of J&K has made it mandatory that all passengers with history of travel to outside India would undergo quarantine till the report of the sample taken at the Airport is available. In addition, all cases found positive during such testing will be isolated at DRDO Hospital Khanmoh. Currently, 106 rooms in four hotels of Srinagar and 200 rooms in Sanat Nagar marriage hall and Hajj House Srinagar have been notified for isolation of passengers arriving from abroad. The former facilities are paid and the latter free of cost. The travelers are provided a choice at the Srinagar International Airport after their samples are taken, a senior official said.

Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir has ordered that all people who have returned from abroad in the past two weeks need to reveal the details of the same at the Srinagar Airport. In case a passenger is found hiding the travel history, he or she will be liable to punishment “as per law” and a fine of Rs 20,000.

Greater Kashmir