Other States

Kashmir doctors favour continuing lockdown

As the bureaucracy in J&K initiated measures to “unlock” normal life in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, senior doctors raised alarm bells and warned of an “unprecedented spike in cases” in the State.

“Initially, the majority of infected people were asymptomatic or with mild symptoms. Of late, a considerable number are moderate to severe cases,” Dr. Salim Khan, Nodal Officer for COVID-19, and Head of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine (SPM), Government Medical College, Srinagar, told The Hindu.

Mr. Khan has appealed to the government to re-impose lockdown in the Kashmir valley to contain the situation from spiralling out of hand.

‘Fear a surge’

“As of now, half of the admitted patients in the Chest Disease Hospital require oxygen and some are on ventilators. We fear a surge in sick cases with overwhelming impact on the health system. The vulnerable population back home is very much exposed now,” Dr. Khan warned.

J&K has recorded around 60 deaths due to COVID-19 and over 2,200 positive cases in the past 10 days.

Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) president and influenza expert Dr. Nisarul Hassan attributed the spike to “free mingling in public parks, gardens and picnic spots”. He also said that the strain of the novel coronavirus prevalent in Kashmir needs an immediate lab test to identify possible mutation.

“For the first time in the past four months, the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital has receive 40 admissions, of which 32 had COVID-19 symptoms along with bilateral pneumonia and were in desperate need of oxygen. Young and middle-aged people with no comorbidities and no underlying medical conditions are arriving at the hospital with bilateral pneumonia these days,” Dr. Hassan said.

“Lifting the lockdown and reopening economic activities doesn’t mean that the pandemic is over. We are in a critical phase of the pandemic. Limiting transmission for a few more months could make a huge difference in illnesses and deaths,” Dr. Hassan said.

The doctors’ fears are in contrast to the measures of the administration on the ground. The J&K administration recently threw open all gardens in the Kashmir valley and also decided to allow the annual Amarnath Yatra, while restricting the flow of pilgrims to 500 per day.

Baseer Ahmad Khan, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor, on Friday visited the famous Mughal Garden and Nishat Garden in Srinagar. He called for the strict compliance of COVID-19 guidelines.

PDP reacts

A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson, however, slammed the J&K administration. “In the wake of a dreadful spike, the government has failed to flatten the curve here. The administration is indulging in experimentation,” he said.

According to official figures, so far, the COVID-19 death toll in J&K is 159, and over 9,501 persons have been infected. “Around 5,695 people have recovered so far and the recovery rate is 59.94%,” an official said.

The recovery rate has thus fallen from the 63% of a few days ago.

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 15, 2020 3:51:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/kashmir-doctors-favour-continuing-lockdown/article32048075.ece

Next Story