Jammu, May 20 (GNS):  “Though restrictions under Lockdown 4.0 have been eased to facilitate people movement and economic activity, however, we cannot afford to lower our guard and shall be required to maintain a high level of alertness in order to keep the spread of Coronavirus infection under check in Jammu & Kashmir”, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said this during the first interaction of its kind with all Deputy Commissioners and District Superintendents of Police over video conference, after issuance of new guidelines on lockdown measures that come into effect from today.

Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, Commissioner Secretary Industries and Commerce, Divisional Commissioners, Jammu/ Kashmir, Secretary DMRRR, Mission Director, NHM also participated in the interaction.

Applauding the district authorities for their efforts during the COVID 19 pandemic, the Chief Secretary said that the guidelines issued on the lockdown measures are required to be enforced strictly so that the progress achieved in this regard is maintained.

Chief Secretary said that the order with a fresh classification of districts as Red, Orange and Green in the Union Territory has already been issued to implement Lockdown 4.0 from today. The classification is based on an overall assessment of the situation pertaining to the spread of COVID-19 in Jammu and Kashmir, the trend in new cases particularly the recent spike in new cases in view of the movement of stranded persons into Jammu and Kashmir which is still an ongoing exercise, and the risk perception of the Health department vis-à-vis each district and the parameters laid down by MOHFW, GoI, he added.

Chief Secretary said that considering lockdown measures, in place since March 24, have helped noticeably in containing the spread of COVID-19. The Government of India has decided to further extend the lockdown till May 31.  However, this time the lockdown will be with much more relaxations, especially in Green and Orange districts, he added.

Chief Secretary emphasised that the earlier SOPs with regard to containment zones shall continue to remain in force to ensure a stricter perimeter and a complete lockdown in such areas except essential supplies. Though certain relaxations have been specified in the guidelines, however, District Magistrates can take any local measure to ensure social distancing and to avoid congestion especially in the areas where increased activity is expected, he maintained.

Regarding the return of stranded people to J&K, Chief Secretary said that the Divisional/District administrations shall ensure that the existing SOPs are strictly adhered to and each person on return to the Union Territory is tested, quarantined and allowed to go home only when declared negative on the test report.

Chief Secretary said that recent spike in positive cases in some districts can be attributed to a high positivity percentage among those returning from outside J&K. Complimenting the health department for its work in terms of enhancing the testing capacity, the Chief Secretary said once the influx of stranded persons decreases the testing capacity shall be rationalised among the districts to further increase local testing. (GNS)

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