A 67-year-old woman, who recently returned from Saudi Arabia, tested positive for the novel coronavirus (covid-19) on Wednesday, making it the first confirmed case in Kashmir Valley, a senior official of the UT government said. Overall there are now four confirmed cases of coronavirus in J&K with three already reported in Jammu.
“First positive case in Kashmir- Khanyar, Srinagar. History of foreign travel. Arrived on 16/3/2020. Put in Isolation. Surveillance started in 300m area. Request all to cooperate. Also immediately self-report any symptoms (sic),” Principal Secretary Planning, Development and Monitoring, Rohit Kansal tweeted.
A doctor at SKIMS said that she has a travel history to Saudi Arabia where she had performed Umrah. The doctor said that her report was confirmed from two places including SKIMS lab and Pune lab. The doctor said that she is around 67 years-old, a resident of Khayam, Khanyar, Srinagar.
“The patient had developed fever, and upper respiratory tract infection since yesterday. She is currently being examined by senior resident medicine in isolation ward at SKIMS,” the doctor said. Meanwhile authorities have decided to take samples of all people she has interacted after her arrival in Srinagar on March 16.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said there will be restrictions on public transport, assembly of people and some other measures in Srinagar from Thursday. “Steps are being taken in view of a positive case detected. Further updates to follow,” he added.
Earlier, two more person with coronavirus-like symptoms were admitted to a Srinagar hospital even as authorities suspend the yatra to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine besides suspending inter-state buses coming to and going from J&K till March 31.
HOD Chest Disease (CD) Hospital Srinagar Dr. Naveed Nazir Shah told GNS that the two were admitted in isolation ward of the hospital. “So far fourteen test reports have been received and all came out to be negative,” he said, adding, test reports of the two freshly admitted persons was awaited.
At SKIMS, no person with coronavirus-like symptoms was admitted on Wednesday and so far 40 persons, admitted earlier at the tertiary care hospital, have tested negative. Some of them have been already discharged.
Director, SKIMS Hospital Soura, A G Ahangar urged the public to exercise caution to prevent spread of the disease that has been declared a global pandemic. However he said that there was no need to panic.
“We have tested 41 samples here and 40 of them have come out as negative. There has been no positive case reported from the valley till date,” Dr Ahangar, flanked by several seniors doctors, told reporters. The result of one suspect is awaited, he added. He was perhaps alluding to the woman was tested positive later.
He said there was no need to panic or be scared about the disease. “People should follow the advisories issued by the authorities from time to time. Let us be safe, let us be wise and let us ensure that we help others to live as we live,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government ordered suspending the yatra to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine besides suspending inter-state buses coming to and going from J&K till March 31 in view of the prevailing situation emerging due to COVID-19.
Kansal, who is also the government Spokesperson told a presser that there was no cause of panic and the cooperation of citizens is must in combating the situation successfully.
Flanked by Financial Commissioner Health & Medical Education, Atal Dulloo and Director Information & PR, Dr. Syed Sehrish Asgar, Kansal said that all preventive measures are being taken by the government.
Giving a detailed break up about the Corona virus suspected cases in UT of J&K till date, Rohit Kansal informed that 2802 persons have been enlisted for observation among which 2128 have been kept in home quarantine, 28 in hospital quarantine whileas 346 are under home surveillance.
He said that 300 persons have completed their 28 day surveillance period. 145 samples of suspected cases have been sent for testing so far out of which 118 have been reported negative, 03 are positive while as report of 24 is still awaited.
Spelling out measures being taken up to control and prevent spread of this Virus, Rohit Kansal informed that the yatra to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine has been suspended till March 31,2020. He also appealed all religious leaders to suspend all kinds of religious gatherings till March 31,2020.
Appealing foreign visitors not to visit J&K, Kansal said that all the foreign tourists or visitors arriving in J&K will be quarantined besides 100% quarantine will also be enforced on all the travellers coming from Union Territory of Ladakh. Kansal added that the government has also decided to operationalise 100% checking of passengers at Banihal Railway station while as all inter-state buses coming to or going from J&K have been suspended till March 31, 2020.
Urging people not to pay heed to rumors, Rohit Kansal said that the government advises people not to panic and to rely on the information released by the government in this regard. He reiterated that citizens must take basic precautions such as personal hygiene, hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquettes and also report any symptoms (fever, difficult breathing and cough) to the medical authorities immediately in order to contain the virus.
Addressing the Press Conference, Financial Commissioner Health & Medical Education, Atal Dulloo said that the Administrative Council of the Union Territory of J&K has decided to provide free of cost Universal Health Coverage to all the residents of Jammu & Kashmir in convergence with Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY. He added that around 15 lac additional families will be benefitted under the scheme apart from already covered 5.95 lac families.
Pertinent to mention, the scheme will provide an insurance cover of Rs.5 lakh per family annually without any restrictions on family size, age or gender. The scheme will cover all the pre-existing illnesses besides high end treatments of oncology, cardiology and nephrology. This scheme will also cover employees, pensioners and their family members. (GNS)