Coronavirus: Kupwara Youth Could Be The New Super Spreader

by Tahir Bhat

SRINAGAR: Police have finally obliged a vast section of people in the frontier Kupwara district and registered a formal case against a young man who had hidden his travel history and is alleged to be  ‘super spreader’ in making.

The young man, who tested positive on April 9, is accused of hiding his recent Delhi visit. On Saturday, two of his close relatives – his maternal and paternal grandmothers, tested positive for the Covid-19. The authorities have already declared the area a red zone.

SSP Kupwara in a statement said they have registered FIR No 70 under sections 269,270 and 271 for keeping his travel history secret.

“That includes, Whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both (269 IPC), Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease danger­ous to life.”

“Whoever malignantly does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both (270 IPC) and Disobedience to quarantine rule.”

“Whoever knowingly disobeys any rule made and promulgated by the  Government for putting any vessel into a state of quarantine, or for regulating the intercourse of vessels in a state of quarantine with the shore or with other vessels, or for regulating the intercourse between places where an infectious disease prevails and other places, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both (271 IPC).”

The demand for the case was made by the locality after he tested positive.

Reports said the person had attended a major gathering in Delhi and returned home on March 22. Between his return and the day he tested positive, residents said he had been roaming around in his locality for a long fortnight during which he is understood to have met the district administration officers, residents and even played a cricket match.

Authorities in the frontier district had appealed the residents to report to quarantine centres and reveal their travel history.

Officials in Srinagar confirmed that the fresh positive cases from Kupwara include two elderly women from Muqam-e-Shawali, who are related to a 23 year old man who had already tested positive. The fourth person who tested positive is a resident of Trehgam, who is around 20 of age with travel history to Bhopal and Delhi.

Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, Anshul Garg confirmed the cases. “2 more (coronavirus) positives from Muqam Shawali and another from Bandipora, currently residing at Trehgam,” Garg was quoted saying. “All contacts of earlier positive patients. All of them are under quarantine at COVID Hospital Kupwara and are stable.”

On April 10, a day after when the young man was tested positive, there were demands from Drugmulla, Anderhama and Muqam Shahwali belt that he should be booked for playing with the health of a vast majority of residents. They alleged that the frightened residents have now started a campaign motivating the people, who may have come in close contact with the positive patient, to report to the quarantine centre and seek medical help.

Virus of Stigma

A media report quoted nodal officer for COVID-19 in Kupwara, Nazir Ahmad Lone, saying that relatives and family members of the Covid positive patient have been put under quarantine including those who may have come in contact with the positive case.  However, he was not in a position to offer the exact numbers. The officials said the area, a red zone, is now effectively contained with restrictions on all kinds of movement.

Coronavirus: 48202 Persons Under Observation, 7729 In Home Quarantine

Earlier, Garg had said that the person did not reveal his travel history and tweeted about “harassment” when approached by the authorities. The young man had been kept in quarantine for three days and later shifted home. Authorities said they did not send him for the test because he was asymptomatic.

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