Kargil battling another COVID-19 wave due to “poor quarantine protocols, delayed testing”

In the first 55 days of the lockdown, the COVID-19 curve in Ladakh’s Kargil district touched the bottom with no case reported on May 15, but only to see another wave surging in the past one week, which is attributed by locals to “poor quarantine protocols and delayed testing”.

From touching the base, the number of COVID-19 patients in the past three weeks has reached 425 with 404 active positive cases, according to official figures. Most of them were reported this month.

Unnerved, the Kargil administration, in a fresh order issued two days ago when 69 tested positive for the virus in just 48 hours, extended the lockdown restrictions up to June 30. They were lifted on May 18.

No traffic is allowed between Kargil and Leh of the Union Territory (UT) except for essential services, officials said.

“Even vehicles carrying essentials are being allowed on one-plus-one basis [which means only a driver and a helper will be allowed],” the order said.

“The Kargil administration has started facilitating return of stranded students from the outside. It has become the cause of spread as the quarantine protocol is poor. The samples taken from the quarantined take at least 13 days for results. By that time many asymptomatic people mix up with the population. This is responsible for the surge,” Sajad Kargili, a local politician, told The Hindu over the phone.

Kargil, with 1.41 lakh population, has its nearest testing lab 200 km away in Leh. “Many samples are sent to Delhi,” Mr. Kargili said.

Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council-Kargil, chief executive councillor, Feroz Ahmad Khan urged the administration to speed up testing. “The delay in timely receipt of sample results is creating confusion, especially those under institutional and home quarantine,” Mr. Khan said.

He appealed to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Delhi, to clear the backlog of samples.

“Of 69 cases reported in 48 hours, many are already kept in institutional and strict home quarantine,” District Magistrate, Kargil, Baseer-ul-Haq said.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 1:13:11 PM |

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