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‘Complacency would cost people heavily’: Srinagar among 46 Covid hotspots in India

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People, many of them without masks, sitting in Badamwari, Srinagar on March 20, 2021. The garden was officially thrown open on the day (Photo: KM/Umar Ganie)


Srinagar:  Alarm bells are again ringing as Srinagar has been identified as one of the 46 COVID hotspots in the country.

Srinagar has currently 908 active cases, which is the highest in ten districts of the valley.

 

“Srinagar is one of 46 hotspot districts in the country showing an exponential rise of COVID cases and we are participating in public concerts and shows,” Dr. Salim Khan, Nodal officer Government Medical College, Srinagar tweeted.

Dr. Khan told The Kashmir Monitor that the “complacency” would cost people heavily.    “Are people waiting for this year’s lockdown to become serious about COVID resurgence? The number of cases nowadays are increasing manifold in days as against very slow rise last year same time,” he said.

 He advised people to avoid gatherings and congregations. “There’s a clustering of cases in marriage functions, condolence gatherings, tourist spots, recreational facilities. Also, please get vaccinated, adhere to COVID appropriate behavior (mask, social distancing, and clean hands),” Dr. Khan said.

A Community Health Expert GMC said the caseload is also directly proportionate to the population density.

“More the population more will be the number of cases. Since Srinagar is a central hub of the valley with an increased number of market places and offices, it has become a focal point. In such a situation, the chance of vulnerability with regard to Covid becomes more in this district and people need to be extra careful,” he said.

Health experts have maintained that an effective cluster containment strategy can be employed in the identified hotspots to keep the cases in check.

“A system must be put in place to check the case surge and identify the clustering of cases in a particular area. Those areas should be mapped using GIS and hot spots should be identified,” the expert said.

He said the “Aarogya Setu app”, which aims at providing users’ information whether they are prone to a Covid-19 infection by analyzing their proximity to Covid positive persons, can also turn beneficial in identifying the cluster spots.

“There is a high unmet need for tools like Aarogya Setu that can facilitate the timely and cost-effective identification of hotspots of Covid-19 infection to enable the decision-makers to act with minimal delay. Using such technology to detect the hotspots of infection will help them decide for lockdown re-impositions at the sub-regional or regional levels,” he said.

At the same time, only 10 percent of the population in Jammu and Kashmir downloaded the Aarogya Setu app last year, the recent reports show. As per data available with The Kashmir Monitor, 12,67,380 people in Jammu and Kashmir, which has a population of 1.25 crore as per the 2011 census, downloaded the app. Union territory ranks at 15th in the highest downloads across India.

President Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK), Dr. Suhail Naik said in the emerging situation, social gatherings call for a protocol.

“We cannot escape the reality of Covid-19. If we want to attend any gathering in an open space, the organizers should ensure seating arrangement with the right amount of distance, mandatory masks and sanitizers, number of attending it,” he said.

Dr. Suhail said the administration should play a proactive role and take “prompt action against those who violate the protocols”.