SEC issues new guidelines for Covid-19 containment

Allows limited reopening of higher edu institutions, Schools, coaching centres to remain closed. No mandatory testing at Lakhanpur for fully vaccinated
SEC issues new guidelines for Covid-19 containment
The order in this connection was issued by the Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, who is also the chairperson State Executive Committee (SEC) of J&K Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction.Mir Imran/GK File

Jammu: The J&K government on Sunday permitted the higher educational institutions to commence limited in-person teaching subject to 100 percent vaccination of staff and students and specific permission of concerned Deputy Commissioners.

However, the schools, including coaching centres, would continue to remain closed for onsite or in-person teaching, till further orders.

The order in this connection was issued by the Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, who is also the chairperson State Executive Committee (SEC) of J&K Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction.

As per the order, the mandatory testing for Covid 19 at Lakhanpur too was no longer needed for fully vaccinated. “At entry point to UT of J&K at Lakhanpur, mandatory testing for COVID can be dispensed with for those who have received both doses of vaccine provided a reliable and verifiable system can be put in place in consultation with the medical team,” Mehta instructed.

Similarly, the “entry into parks can be permitted to vaccinated persons with due verification,” read the SEC order.

While allowing limited re-opening of higher educational institutions, the government further directed that such institutions could organize special vaccination camps in consultation with district administration. “Other educational institutions can allow attendance of vaccinated staff for administrative purposes,” the order mentioned.

Earlier the SEC, in its order on August 22 had stated that the government would consider phased re-opening of institutions where 100 percent vaccination of staff and students had been achieved. Reiterating that the maximum number of people permitted to attend any indoor or outdoor gathering would be restricted to 25, Mehta today ordered that all District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police would ensure its strict compliance.

Mehta, in his order, also directed that night curfew would continue to remain in force in all districts from 8 pm to 7 am. However, there would be no weekend curfew in any district.

The State Executive Committee, in exercise of the powers conferred upon it under Section 24 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, further ordered that the guidelines or instructions on Covid containment in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir already notified vide Government Orders 35 and 36 — JK (DMRRR) of 2021 dated May 29, 2021 read with Government Orders 63 - JK (DMRRR) of 2021 dated August 22, 2021 would continue to remain in force till further orders.

SEC issued new guidelines for pandemic containment after a detailed review of the current Covid situation in Jammu and Kashmir was conducted by the Chief Secretary, J&K, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Finance; ACS Health and Medical Education; Principal Secretary Home; Divisional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police and other officers of Jammu and Kashmir on August 27, 2021.

Review was conducted to assess overall situation pertaining to the spread of Covid-19 in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly focusing on the parameters viz. total weekly new cases (per million), total positivity rate, bed occupancy, case fatality rate, vaccination coverage of targeted population and extent of compliance to Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB).

“Whereas it was observed that there’s a need to continue with the existing Covid containment measures in all districts in view of the uneven trend observed in the daily cases,” SEC noted.

It asserted that all Deputy Commissioners would intensify testing by making optimum use of available RT-PCR and RAT capacities. There would be no drop in testing levels.

“The Deputy Commissioners shall also focus on the positivity rates of the medical-blocks under their jurisdictions. Intensified measures, related to Covid management and restriction of activities, shall be undertaken by the DCs in these blocks. There shall be renewed focus on Panchayat level mapping of cases and effective micro-containment zones shall be constituted wherever unusual spike of cases is noticed. DCs shall keep active track of the positivity rates in the blocks and consider implementing stricter control measures in closed clustered spaces like public/private offices, community halls, malls, bazaars etc., in case weekly positivity rate goes beyond 4 percent in these blocks,” SEC reiterated.

SEC directed that the three – “T” protocols of testing, tracking and treating, besides vaccination, needed to be strengthened in these blocks. “The proportion of RT-PCR tests in the total mix should be scaled up, on a best effort basis, to 70 percent or more, excluding travellers. Intensive vaccination drive shall be taken up in all districts to ensure timely administration of second dose besides maximizing first dose to vulnerable groups. Positive cases detected as a result of intensive testing need to be isolated or quarantined at the earliest and their contacts should also be traced at the earliest, and similarly isolated or quarantined and tested if needed,” it instructed.

As per SEC order, immediate isolation and treatment of Covid-19 patients will be ensured in treatment facilities, hospitals and homes. The Directorate of Health & Medical Education (HME), Government of J&K, will ensure adequate availability of Covid dedicated health and logistics (including ambulatory) infrastructure, based on their assessment of the case trajectory.

“MD, NHM in consultation with the DCs shall take up Panchayat level mapping and data capturing on the specified portal with respect to all tests for tracking the positivity rates in all Panchayats and other areas in a timely manner,” SEC ordered.

Mehta instructed that the District Magistrates would strictly ensure that there was full compliance to Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) and defaulters were firmly dealt with under relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code. “The District Magistrates shall constitute joint teams of police and Executive Magistrates for intensifying enforcement of Covid Appropriate Behaviour. The joint teams shall submit daily reports regarding activities carried out by them and their assessment of compliance level. DCs will intensify the campaigns for ensuring Covid Appropriate Behaviour. Dedicated IEC, including public announcements through mobile vehicles must be undertaken,” he ordered.

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