High incidence of Covid-19 cases in Srinagar

100% first dose target to be achieved with increased vaccination Schools, except class 10, 12 to remain closed
High incidence of Covid-19 cases in Srinagar
A health worker collects swab sample of a man for COVID-19 testing at the entrance of Shalimar Garden in Srinagar.Mubashir Khan/GK File

Jammu: The government Sunday directed that in view of the high incidences of Covid-19 in Srinagar, a special campaign would be organised to “substantially increase vaccination coverage and achieve the target of 100 percent first dose within earliest possible time”.

It also ordered that the vaccination of all those connected with the functioning of educational institutions or coaching centres would be accorded priority in the drives presently underway in all the districts.

The order in this connection was issued today by 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.

The SEC maintained the status quo with regard to its guidelines issued last week as far as educational institutions are concerned.

The schools, except for relaxations as provided for students of 12th and 10th classes, would continue to remain closed for on-site and in-person teaching.

In its order on September 5, the SEC had permitted classes for 12th standard and coaching centres for civil services, engineering and NEET with limited in-person teaching for vaccinated students and staff.

On similar lines, concession was given to class 10th.

In his order issued today, Mehta reiterated that the classes for 12th standard would be permitted with “limited in-person teaching not exceeding 50 percent on a given day for vaccinated students and staff”.

“Consent shall be obtained from the parents of all students who are willing to attend the school. The school premises should be thoroughly sanitised. Proper screening regarding vaccination should be done on the school gate. If any student or teacher or other school staff shows symptoms of cough, cold or fever, they will not be allowed to enter the school,” he directed.

With regard to class 10 students also it was reiterated that limited in-person teaching of students of 10th class not exceeding 50 percent on any given day and “after ensuring compliance with Covid Appropriate Behaviour by the school authorities can be permitted by concerned Deputy Commissioners after due screening through 100 percent Rapid Antigen Test or RT-PCR, subject to consent of parents and students”.

Similarly for coaching centres, there was no change in guidelines as Mehta ordered, “Coaching centres for civil services, engineering and NEET should be permitted with limited in-person teaching, for fully vaccinated staff and student, subject to condition that the head of the centre should ensure that the guidelines related to social distancing and Covid protocols are adhered to.”

All other coaching centres, except coaching centres for civil services, engineering and NEET would continue to remain closed for onsite or in-person teaching.

Mehta reiterated that higher educational institutions would be permitted to commence limited in-person teaching subject to 100 percent vaccination of the staff and students and specific permission of concerned Deputy Commissioners.

“Such institutions can organise special vaccination camps in consultation with the district administration. The heads of these institutions should ensure that the guidelines related to social distancing and Covid protocols are adhered to. Educational institutions should be permitted to direct attendance of vaccinated staff for the administrative purposes only,” he instructed.

Reiterating that the maximum number of people permitted to attend any indoor or outdoor gathering would be restricted to 25, Mehta ordered that all District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police would ensure its strict compliance.

In his order, Mehta 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.

“At the entry point to J&K at Lakhanpur, mandatory testing for Covid-19 should be dispensed with for those who have received both the doses of the vaccine. Entry into parks should be permitted to the vaccinated persons only with due verification,” he said.

In this connection, surprise checks would be conducted by inspection teams to assess the implementation and initiate corrective measures.

The State Executive Committee, in exercise of the powers conferred upon it under Section 24 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, ordered that the guidelines or instructions on Covid containment in J&K already notified vide government orders 35 and 36 — JK (DMRRR) of 2021 dated 29 May 2021 read with government orders 66 - JK (DMRRR) of 2021 dated 5 September 2021 would continue to remain in force till further orders.

As per the order, new guidelines for pandemic containment were issued after a detailed review of the current Covid situation in J&K was conducted by the Chief Secretary with Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Finance; ACS Health and Medical Education; Principal Secretary Home; Divisional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police and other officers of J&K on 11 September 2021.

Review was conducted to assess the overall situation pertaining to the spread of Covid-19 in J&K, particularly focusing on the parameters – 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.

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

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

The SEC ordered that an intensive vaccination drive would be taken up in all districts to ensure timely administration of the second dose besides maximising the 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.

Greater Kashmir