Testing mandatory for people entering Kashmir hospitals

A health worker sorts swab samples for COVID-19 testing taken from tourists before they enter Gulmarg in north Kashmir's Baramulla.
A health worker sorts swab samples for COVID-19 testing taken from tourists before they enter Gulmarg in north Kashmir's Baramulla. Mubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: At a time when Kashmir is witnessing a sharp increase in Omicron COVID-19 cases, the Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir (DHSK) issued COVlD-l9 SOPs, guidelines for Kashmir hospitals- asking patients to undergo RAT before entering hospitals.

According to an official order issued by DHSK, which is in possession with Greater Kashmir, it said that in view of the recent surge of COVID-19 cases across

India and detection of some cases of Omicron in Jammu and Kashmir as well, all the Chief Medical Officers, Medical Superintendents, Block Medical Officers are hereby enjoined upon to get COVID-19 SOPs, guidelines properly implemented in all the health care institutions falling under their administrative control.

The order further said that besides, the concerned HoDs would also ensure that no patient, attendant is allowed to enter the hospital premises unless and until Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) testing is undertaken and ensure all the visitors and other staff members are properly masked up. However, in case of emergencies, the need-based protocols must be followed, the order said.

Meanwhile, doctors have demanded that the facility of RAT should be kept at every primary healthcare centre so that people don’t face any hassles while going for testing.

“During my duty hours, I came in contact with COVID positive patient. Till today morning I was asymptomatic but started feeling feverish, with a dry cough and generalised body aches. I went to nearby NTPHC (which is just outside my home) for RAT, to my surprise no such facility is available at NTPHC in the city outskirts,” a senior doctor said. “I wonder why only PHCs are available for such a huge population that is devoid of RAT.”

Spokesperson, Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Mir Mushtaq, told Greater Kashmir that “in current situation when we are witnessing a sharp increase in cases, we have made RAT mandatory for the entry in the hospitals across Kashmir region,” he said.

He said that the Health Department is on the job and has earlier conducted over 50,000 Covid-19 tests across Kashmir hospitals, the highest single-day figure during the two years of the pandemic in the region. “Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases across Jammu and Kashmir, the government has increased the testing capacity across Kashmir, while as at all vital entry points, excessive testing is being conducted,” he said. The department, he said, has launched a campaign and people are asked to follow the Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

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