Srinagar again turns into COVID hotspot as gross violations continue

TNN Bureau. Updated: 9/14/2021 4:41:30 PM Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar, Sep 14: The summer capital, Srinagar, has again turned into a COVID hotspot, registering over 55 per cent of the total fresh cases recorded in the Kashmir valley in the last fortnight amid gross violation of guidelines imposed to curtail the spread of the pandemic, officials said here on Tuesday.

The Srinagar administration has now notified 22 areas of the district as containment zones, where barricades have been erected at the entry and exit points to curb the movement of the general public.

The rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the city can be attributed to the gross violation of COVID-19 guidelines, including during government, political functions and sports events, which has been witnessing huge gatherings. These events are being held despite a cap of 25 people imposed by the administration on indoor and outdoor activities in the Union Territory.

This could pose a serious threat as it comes at a time when the administration is planning to reopen High, Higher Secondary Schools, colleges and universities in the UT. The administration last week in an order, said that classes for the 10th and 12th standard will be permitted with limited in-person teaching not exceeding 50 per cent on any given day for those students and staff who have been vaccinated.

According to the data accessed by UNI, Kashmir valley reported 1215 fresh COVID-19 cases between September 1 and September 13. Out of these, 687 cases were recorded in Srinagar alone. “The city has witnessed a major chunk of fresh cases in the last fortnight. Most of the above mentioned events are being held without adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. People are not wearing masks and maintaining social distances,” official sources said.

The surge in COVID-19 cases comes despite the administration collecting fines worth lakhs of rupees from violators’ everyday in the valley, including Srinagar, where Rs 55 lakhs have been collected as fine so far from people violating guidelines.

The administration on Monday said that there were 88 zones in Srinagar district out of which 22 were active containment zones. “Barricades have been erected in these areas for the past few days. The surge in COVID-19 cases is currently fixed to some particular areas. We are restricting entry and exit from these areas so that we can control the spread of virus from these areas,” the officials said.

“Consent will be obtained from the parents of all students who are willing to attend the school. The school premises should be thoroughly sanitized. Proper screening regarding vaccination should be done at the school gate. If students or teachers or other school staff show symptoms of cough, cold or fever, they will not be allowed to enter the school. The Head of the school must ensure that the guidelines related to social distancing and COVID protocol are strictly followed,” the order read.

However, all religious places, including major mosques and shrines, continued to remain closed in Kashmir.

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