Coronavirus: After 2 Deaths, Authorities Manage Contacts In Red Zones, Hospitals


by Tahir Bhat

SRINAGAR: With second death and five new patients turning positive to the elusive virus infection, gradually the load is increasing over the fragile health sector. Authorities are desperately driving the contacts of the established patients to the hospitals and the health care centres are trying to readjust with the new realities.

Health care workers and some voluntary workers outside the Hajin Hospital.

“These are grim but newer realities,” one middle run civil administration officials said, “It will take more sometime for all sides to accept the larger realities and things will start settling down”. A doctor, part of the managerial apparatus said even for them the situation is completely unprecedented. “We have heard it and watched it on the TV but now we have started witnessing and experiencing it,” the doctor said. “It will take a bit of time for all of us.”

In Jammu, Bhupinder Kumar, the director of National Health Mission said Jammu and Kashmir have now 38 cases of whom two have recovered fully and two have died – all others are in hospitals.

In SMHS Hospital

Doctors manning the Associated Hospital said they collected 86 fresh samples on Sunday and these include 44 samples from the suspects quarantined in the JLNM Hospital in Rainawari. Dr M Salim Khan, the GMC spokesman said he hopes the results should be available by later Monday.

In the samples collected on Saturday, four new cases were detected (in addition to one that came late last night). Of them, three were from Budgam, one each from Pakherpora, Chrar-e-Sharief and Kanidajan. The fourth case was from Srinagar’s Hawal locality.

Dr M Salim Khan (GMC, Srinagar)

“We are particularly disturbed because one of the Budgam cases had visited the shrine during the night when the people resorted to midnight Azaan’s,” Dr Khan said. “Efforts are underway to try and see who was around when he visited the shrine.” The Hawal case has a travel history to Delhi only. ‘

Doctors are still investigating the cause of infection of the Tangmarg person who died in the CD Hospital on Sunday. He had no travel history and the last time he met somebody with travel history was in January, one doctor said. He was admitted to the SMHS on Wednesday and after an X-ray suggests a test, it was quickly done. He died within less than 24 hours after the test confirmed him to be a Covid-19 case.

Dr Khan said the patients who are being admitted are being counselled that they did not require any major medicine – other than certain basics, and they are all under observation till they test negative after 14 days. Some of the attendants of the patients admitted to the CD Hospital had created a ruckus over the doctors not seeing them often. He said the doctors still have adequate protective gear to manage the Covid-19 cases.

In JLNM Hospital

Though the hospital exhibited a peaceful day, it still has not received 38 of the suspected cases who fled the hospital late last night. Dr Bilquis Shah said they have given the names and addresses of these Bemina and Chattabal residents to the authorities.

“We have 124 contacts of the positive cases with us excluding the 38 who fled away,” Dr Shah said. “These include 10 of Chadoora belt of whom one was transferred to CD Hospital as he turned symptomatic.”

Dr Bilquis Shah

Admitting that there were certain problems in the hospital, owing to the lockdown, Dr Shah said things have been settled. “Unlike yesterday, I am not in a panic now,” Dr Shah said. “We have finally tied up with a supplier who will be feeding the patients (two teas, lunch, dinner and water) for Rs 500, per head per day.”

Dr Shah said the inmates were suffering for smaller things. “Today, patients said they need hot water and I quickly purchased one electric kettle for every ward,” she said. “There are genuine demands. One of the inmates is a lady who has delivered a baby only 10 days back and the newborn is also with us. The mother was desperate about the basic tests, the immunization and other things so we organised tests things. Even one patient told me that she is not used to taking medicine with eater and requires milk, and I promised her I will get it from home tomorrow.”

On Sunday, a lot of samples were collected from the suspected contacts and sent to the CD hospital. The hospital is hosting the two brothers, both minors, who are asymptomatic but have tested positive to the viral infection.

Meanwhile, the hospital, according to Dr Shah has moved an application for registration of a case against some media outlet for carrying news that the medical superintendent was removed. “The fact is that he is retiring in two days,” she said.


Dr Farooq Ahmad Jan, the medical superintendent of the SKIMS said they admitted 31 fresh patients and collected an equal number of samples on Sunday.

Dr Farooq A Jan (SKIMS)

“Right now, we have 65 patients in our quarantine ward and 37 in the isolation ward,” Dr Jan said. “These include six patients who are positive.”He said 25 samples that were collected on Saturday were negative as per the results that came today. Two patients were discharged.

Administration Speak

Informed sources in the civil administration said that they are strictly following the implementation of the red zones. Almost 300 meters radius around the spot where a Covid-19 positive case is detected is a red zone and the areas surrounding it are the buffer zones.

“There are various villages in Pulwama, Budgam, Tangmarg which have been declared red zones,” one officer said. “This is in addition to various Mohallas in the city.” These zones, he said, are a sort of quarantine facility which is to be managed on 24 x 14 bases.

A group of Kashmiri doctors suggesting people help them fight the virus

The officer said the locating the contacts of the positive cases are a gruelling exercise. In certain cases, the authorities are struggling to reach the right people. In north Kashmir, Hajin is emerging the major red zone. Last night, a person had somehow managed to escape and he was finally brought back.

“We have implemented a strict curfew and we provide people what they require,” one officer told on the phone. “But in the immediate periphery of Hajin there are issues in certain villages and we had to use people to send the residents home.”

The officer said almost 25 people were referred to Srinagar from the Hajin quarantine facility on Sunday because they required immediate testing given their situation.

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Asked if the civil society has extended any help, the officer said indications are good. “Some have come forward and more are joining the efforts,” he said. In Hajin, for instance, some voluntary workers have supplied 1500 face masks to the medical staff that is managing 400 people in four quarantine facilities.


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