In a region mired in conflict, it takes all the more courage, and perseverance to be the voice of the voiceless, and to separate facts from propaganda. Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

‘300 % increase in Covid cases’: Uncertainty continues over closure of tourist spots in Kashmir

Srinagar: Uncertainty continues over the closure of tourist spots in Kashmir amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

A fresh wave of COVID-19 has set off alarm bells after Kashmir witnessed over 300 percent increase in positive cases for the last two weeks.

Administration on Sunday announced the closure of schools in Kashmir up to class 9th for two weeks and one week for class 10th, 11th, and 12th. The decision was taken after around 200 students were tested positive for COVID-19 in schools across Kashmir, which created a panic among parents and teachers alike.

At the same time, authorities are undecided over the closure of tourist spots where thousands of people visit daily and most without following COVID-19 protocol.

“Evolving situation is continuously being reviewed and an appropriate decision will be taken at a suitable time,” Divisional Commissioner Kashmir P K Pole told The Kashmir Monitor when asked if the administration was considering the closure of tourist spots in view of a spike in coronavirus cases.

Tulip Garden and Badamwari in Srinagar have become the main attraction for tourists and locals, where people in large numbers throng these days.

Last Saturday, the tulip festival was thrown open by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha in presence of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan.

Such is the rush that large queues of people are seen outside Tulip Garden to receive the entry tickets without maintaining social distancing.

An official of the Floriculture Department said around 10,000 people visit Tulip Garden on an average daily. “2.58 lakh people visited the garden in 2019. This year, around one lakh people have visited since the garden was thrown on March 25 and is the highest so far when compared to previous years,” the official said.

On preventive measure being taken to contain the spread of COVID-19, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir said: “Focus is on mask enforcement. Airport travelers are being tested and whoever found positive is home or hotel quarantine.”

During March, over 900 travelers were found positive at Srinagar International Airport, which were the highest reported cases in the last 11 months.

Doctors said patients in large numbers are coming to hospitals with severe bilateral pneumonia requiring oxygen, some needing intensive care and the support of ventilators to help them survive the respiratory distress. “Our beds are full, oxygen points are occupied and we don’t have space in intensive care units” said a doctor.