Following the Covid surge in Jammu and Kashmir, the administration has imposed curbs on non-essential movement of people over the weekend, starting Friday afternoon. The decision came at a meeting of the Union territoryâ€™s Covid task force chaired by Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta late on Thursday night.
â€œTo curb the unnecessary gatherings and leisure outings during the third wave peak in the Union territory, the Covid Task Force decided to curb the non-essential movement of people from 2.00 pm on Friday till 6.00 am on Monday,â€ an official statement issued here said.
The chief secretary has asked all departments to permit a suitable percentage of the workforce, including all pregnant employees, to work from home. Mehta also appealed to the public to remain indoors and avoid visiting crowded places, besides urging them to voluntarily declare micro-containment zones in areas that see a large number of cases. He said symptomatic people can avail medical assistance and information on testing by dialling the Covid helpline at 104.
According to the health bulletin issued on Thursday evening, Jammu and Kashmir reported seven Covid deaths and 5,992 fresh cases over the past 24 hours. Of these, Jammu recorded five deaths and 1,920 cases.
On January 1, the Union territory had 1,397 active positive cases including 169 fresh cases. Of these 470 were in Jammu and 927 in Kashmir division. Over the next 20 days, the cases saw a marked spike. The Union territory has 31,044 active cases at present. Besides, 56 Covid deaths have been reported since January 1. The chief secretary has issued directions on strict implementation of Covid-appropriate behaviour.
â€œThe meeting was apprised that although the Omicron variant is maintaining a high transmission, raising the weekly positivity rate from 0.5% to 5.4% over the previous fortnight, the oxygen bed occupancy and ICU bed occupancy are currently at a comfortable level of 7.7% and 14%, respectively,â€ an official statement said. Healthcare facilities have been ramped up and are in a state of readiness to cater to any eventualities, it added.
In comparison to the second wave, Jammu and Kashmir has doubled its testing capacity to over 80,000 daily tests, which has also reflected in the higher number of daily reported cases, it said.
Although the number of daily cases has crossed the peak recorded during the second wave, the peak positivity rate and bed occupancy rate during the current wave continues to remain low at 7% and 6.2% compared to the second waveâ€™s 10.9% and 60.8%, respectively, officials said. The Union territory also has a much lower positivity rate compared to the national average of about 17%, they added.
The NHM was asked to widely publicise the Covid helplines and UT/divisional/district-level emergency contact numbers for assistance, including teleconsultations, through bulk messages and proper advertisement.
The meeting was attended by the administrative secretaries of the departments of finance, health, PWD, disaster management, MD of the National Health Mission and Director General of the Family Health department.