Srinagar: On Saturday, authorities in Jammu and Kashmir imposed a weekend lockdown in the union territory following a surge in COVID-19 cases triggering concerns of a fresh wave of infections in the region.
The administration directed all shops and business establishments in commercial areas like Lal Chowk and other key markets to close their shops as mobile police vans announced new restrictions on loud-speakers in these areas. The announcement urged locals to head back indoors, given the lockdown. The administration has ordered complete restrictions on non-essential movement on weekends.
“Night curfew shall continue to remain in force in all Districts from 9 PM to 6 AM with full restriction on non-essential movement. There shall also be a complete restriction on non-essential movement during weekends in entire J&K,” an official statement read.
According to the official data, five Covid deaths were reported, including three from Jammu and two from Kashmir, while over 10,000 patients remain active, of which over 4,800 are in Jammu and 5,201 are in Kashmir. As many as 2,456 new positive cases were reported Friday evening, of which 934 are from the Jammu division, and 1,522 are from the Kashmir division. The official bulletin added that the cumulative number of doses administered across J&K had reached almost 20 lakh.
The new measures have been introduced, given the increased cases across the region. The Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura has held non-essential elective surgeries and made teleconsultation facilities available for patients through landline numbers from Monday to Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM.
“Any consultation in OPD without a prior appointment through teleconsultation has been put on hold for the time being," a SKIMS order read.
More than 200 doctors and paramedics of Government Medical College (GMC) and its associated hospitals in Srinagar have tested positive in the recent surge. Meanwhile, HoD Community Medicine, GMC Srinagar Dr Salim Khan, has expressed concern and caution as numbers begin to rise.
“The hospital admissions haven't increased proportionally as these cases are usually mild and recover fast as compared to the second wave which was driving by Delta variant," he was quoted as saying by a local news agency.
The state executive committee of the administration has called for a slew of measures because of the new wave, which includes restricting indoor and outdoor gatherings to only 25 persons.
The cinema halls, theatres, theatres, restaurants, clubs and gyms are permitted to function at 25 per cent of the authorised capacity. "All colleges, schools, polytechnics, Itls, coaching, centres for civil services, engineering, NEET to adopt online medium of teaching. There shall be no in-person teaching," an official spokesperson said.