Lieutenant Governor, GC Murmu on Thursday reviewed preparedness and arrangements for dealing with coronavirus outbreak—directing divisional administration to reach out to masses, identify vulnerable age groups, besides augmenting robust healthcare facility on priority.
Speaking during a high-level meeting at Raj Bhavan, Srinagar, the Lieutenant Governor said COVID-19 was a novel virus and it demanded novel interventions from the administration. He urged the administration to work in close coordination and bring the mortality rate to its minimum.
“Fighting COVID-19 is a long-drawn-out battle. We all must gear up and fight it scientifically,” he said. “There shouldn’t be any lapse from the administration whatsoever, besides the concerned Deputy Commissioners should do profiling of the vulnerable areas and try to reach out to the affected people on priority,” he said.
Lauding Srinagar Administration for putting a robust mechanism in place for fighting COVID-19 outbreak and augmenting best possible infrastructure amid healthcare crisis, Murmu directed all the districts to ensure safety and security for the people—urging the concerned District Magistrates to lend all necessary and possible support to the needy people in their areas.
Murmu said that at a time when the administration was working round the clock for ensuring the welfare of the people, he urged people to cooperate with the administration and follow the health and administrative advisories in a letter in spirit to minimize the spread of the virus and urged people to take special care of vulnerable age groups like elderly, children and people with existing illnesses. Murmu reiterated that there would be no shortage of essential commodities or any service and asked people to maintain social distance as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of the virus.
“We are here for people to give our best. People shouldn’t suffer any cost. They (people) shouldn’t panic and people must stay indoors till the time lockdown is in place,” he said.
Reviewing the arrangements for Kashmir division, the LG lauded the efforts of frontline health workers, security forces and the staff of essential services and appealed to the general public to complement the efforts of the government and cooperate in breaking the chain.
‘Profile Vulnerable Groups’
Murmu urged the divisional administration to begin aggressive profiling of vulnerable age groups in the communities—saying that people above the age group of 60 should be profiled and their medical history should be tallied by a team of experts—which will minimize surge of COVID-19 positive cases across Jammu and Kashmir. He also assured the locals that all necessary measures are in place to prevent the spread of the infection; however, they should cooperate and come forward for getting screened.
“Testing capacity should be accelerated and people above the age group of 60 should be screened and if any healthcare issue is seen they should be immediately provided healthcare facilities,” he said. “There shouldn’t be any lapse from the health department on this,” he added.
‘Positive Cases, Contacts & Sampling’
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole, in his detailed presentation gave an overall view of the COVID-19 preparedness, saying that divisional administration was building robust capacities for contact tracing & sampling. He said that 8211 samples have been collected so far, besides 7410 contacts traced and 351 positive cases so far. He said that Pulwama is least affected district while as Bandipora is the highest number of cases.
The meeting was informed that separate teams trained at 58 medical blocks for contact tracing and sampling have been constituted. 423 Lab technicians (LTs) and 80 paramedics have been trained for sampling purposes.
“Each district is having the capacity for mobile sampling and besides that sampling kiosks have been established in all the district headquarters,” he said. “So far 3938 RNA extraction kits have been procured.”
Providing the district-wise breakup, the meeting was informed that Bandipora has 97 positive cases wherein 78 are Active Positive, 18 recovered and 01 has died, Srinagar 79 positive cases with 51 Active Positive, 27 recovered and 01 died, Baramulla 47 positive cases with 41 Active Positive, 04 recovered, and 02 died; Shopian has 46 positive cases with 40 Active Positive, 06 recovered; Kupwara has 37 positive cases with 31 Active Positive and 06 recovered; Ganderbal has 14 positive cases with 12 Active Positive,02 recovered; Budgam 13 positive cases of which 04 are Active Positive with 09 recovered cases; Kulgam has 06 cases and all are Active Positive; Pulwama 03 positive cases and all recovered; Anantnag district has 09 positive case and all are Active Positive.
The meeting was informed that there are 84 containment zones, including 37 (Red Zones), 45 (Orange zones), 02 (Green zones) across Kashmir division. The officials informed the chair that there is a nearly 10000 bed capacity for the COVID-19 patients. It was also informed that till date 64089 travellers and persons in contact with suspected cases have been enlisted for surveillance which includes 5806 persons in-home quarantine including facilities operated by government, 252 in Hospital Quarantine, 310 in hospital isolation and 15376 under home surveillance. Besides, 42340 persons have completed their surveillance period.
‘Disposal of Medical Waste’
The Lieutenant Governor said that clear guidelines and SOP should be adopted to deal with coronavirus-related biomedical waste. He directed concerned Deputy Commissioners to adopt guidelines for handling, treatment and safe disposal of biomedical waste generated during treatment, diagnosis and quarantine of patients confirmed or suspected to have the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19). “There shouldn’t be any lapse in disposing off the biomedical waste. A proper scientific method should be adopted,” he said.
‘Protect Healthcare Workers’
The Lieutenant Governor directed the administration, especially heads of the tertiary care healthcare institutions and Director Health Services, Kashmir, to protect the healthcare workers. He said that healthcare workers are at risk from handling Covid-19 patients and people in quarantine centres.
“You all have to make sure that all your staff are protected and there is no compromise on their safety,” he said. “they should be provided with every possible support and help from the administration and they should be fully geared,” he added. He said that medical experts and specialists should send out warnings to the masses on the mishandling of biomedical waste. He said that discarded masks, gloves and tissues could be potential sources for the spread of this highly contagious virus.
The meeting was attended by Advisors to Lieutenant Governor, Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar and Baseer Ahmad Khan, Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Director, SKIMS, Dr AG Ahnagar, Principal, Government Medical College, Srinagar, Dr Saima Rashid, Director, Health Services, Kashmir, Sameer Mattoo, OSDs COVID Management, Aijaz Ahmad Khan, Vikas Kundal, Owais Ahmad, Joint Director, DIPR, Kashmir, Haris Handoo among other senior officers.