Principal Secretary, Planning, Development and Monitoring Department, Rohit Kansal, who is also the J&K Govt Spokesperson, on Saturday said that the administration is closely monitoring and reviewing the situation and proactively taking a number of steps to combat COVID-19 pandemic.
However, he appealed the people to report travel history and cooperate with the government in breaking the chain of the transmission.
Director Information & PR, Dr Syed Sehrish Asgar and Mission Director NHM Bhupinder Kumar were also present during the occasion.
In an online briefing with the media persons, he said that public cooperation is of critical importance in breaking the chain of transmission.
He said that like in the rest of the country Jammu and Kashmir too has seen a spurt of cases in the last week or so. He informed that the total number of cases in Jammu and Kashmir has reached 28, of which active cases are 25 including 21 in Kashmir and 4 in Jammu division.
“Our teams have been consistently and aggressively trying to trace out the contacts and test them. This will cause some inconvenience and this is where we need support and cooperation of the Public. He further said that tracing out contacts and testing them is of critical importance in breaking the chain of transmission.
Giving further details, he said “We have found out that 11 of the positive cases in Kashmir division could be traced to a single religious congregation. Another 6 cases could be traced to another group which had travelled to Saudi Arabia. We are also getting reports that one of the positive patients had suppressed his travel history to Dubai. This is extremely dangerous for the family, the community and finally the entire UT” and appealed the people not to hide travel history and self-report and cooperate with the government.
“While we have been aggressively tracing our contacts, we have also been reviewing our capacities and facilities. We now have an administrative quarantine facility of over 35000 beds in Jammu (6500), Srinagar (10000) and individual districts(1000 each) spread over large locations” he added.
He further informed that the government has identified and earmarked 11 hospitals, 8 in Kashmir and 3 in Jammu division as exclusive COVID hospitals and as a result, the government have earmarked 2400 treatment beds-1300 in Kashmir and 1100 in Jammu for the purpose. “We are also preparing to upgrade capacity to include 1000 more quarantine beds. On the request of the medical fraternity, the health department has also made arrangements for hotels both in Jammu and Kashmir for the exclusive use of medical professionals engaged in treatment,” he added.
He said that the Health Department is also engaged in procurement of all required material and equipment including masks, Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs) and ventilators.
Kansal also listed the steps taken in order to alleviate the difficulties being faced by the people in the emerging situation.
“The administrative council has already met under the Chairmanship of the Lt Governor and announced a series of steps to alleviate the problems of the people, especially the poor and the destitute. These include the immediate release of Rs 1000 each to workers registered with Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board for purchase of one month’s advance ration under Mid-Day meal, the release of two installments of old age, disability and family pension to all the 7.7 lakh pensioners and additional coverage of all 1.7 lakh pending cases,” he informed.
He further said that “To help the destitute, slum dwellers and migrant labour, ration packets containing essential edibles are being prepared and supplied through the DCs and urban local bodies. In addition, Rs 50 crore has been released to supplement already for the containment of COVID-19 to the districts, PHE department, ULBs for quarantine facilities.
“The administration has also fully geared up to implement all the welfare measures announced under the PRADHAN MANTRI GARIB KALYAN PACKAGE. Distribution of ration both the normal ration and free ration as provided under PMGKAY has already been started. Preparations for implementing other components are also being finalized,” he added.
He also mentioned that the supply lines of essential commodities including drugs are fully in place. There is no shortage of any kind of essential commodity in procurement level and facilitation passes have been issued in this regard. He, therefore, urged the general public not to hoard any sort of commodity and avoid panic.
He said that the Resident Commission in Delhi has established a dedicated 24X7 helpline centre to assist students, patients or any other residents of J&K facing difficulties due to the lockdown. The numbers are 011-24611210, 2461108 and 24615475.
For the assistance of the labourers and residents of UT residing in different parts of the country, the administration is starting a dedicated labour helpline; an appeal has been made to all the State governments to take care of people from other states. Similarly in J&K, the administration is taking caring measures of all such people who may happen to be residing in the UT of J&K.
An appeal has also been made to all the religious leaders, for instance, the grand Mufti of Srinagar has made an appeal regarding holding prayers at home. He also urged to maintain social distances and stay at home besides follow all the advisories issued from time to time to win this battle.
“These are extraordinary times. We are grateful that we are getting unprecedented understanding and cooperation from the people at large. We would like to reassure the people that the entire administrative machinery is constantly and closely monitoring the situation and taking all necessary steps” he reiterated.
He further solicits the support of everyone in reporting cases, following advisories and in cooperating with the administration even though it may be uncomfortable at times.