COVID19: Rohingya Muslims being screened in Jammu

Jammu: Stepping up the COVID-19 screening of Rohingya Muslims living at various slums here, the Health Department in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday collected a dozen samples for testing, officials said.

The samples were taken randomly during screening of Rohingya Muslims residing at Kargil colony and Beeru plot in Bhatindi, a red zone, by a team of doctors deputed to check for the symptoms of coronavirus among the population, the officials said.

They said over 540 Rohingyas, settled in two plots, were screened since Saturday and all of them were found with no symptoms of COVID-19.

The screening process will continue to cover all the settlements housing the foreigners.

More than 13,700 foreigners, including Rohingya Muslims and Bangladesh nationals, are settled in Jammu and Samba districts, where their population has increased by over 6,000 between 2008 and 2016, according to government data.

Earlier this month, 10 Rohingya Muslims from the area who had attended Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi were isolated and put under administrative quarantine.

“The samples of all the 10 persons came negative and with the completion of their quarantine period, they were released this morning,” a senior official said.

Last week, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had asked all states and Union territories to conduct COVID-19 screenings of Rohingya refugees in their jurisdiction as several might have attended Tablighi Jamaat congregation.

In a related development, eight persons, including seven from Rohingya settlement at Kargil colony, were booked after they turned up at a mosque to offer prayers at Karyani Talab near Bhatindi in violation of the lockdown on Saturday, the officials said.

A total of 90 areas in Jammu and Kashmir, including 14 in Jammu region, were declared red zones with complete ban on inward and outward movement of the residents as five persons died of coronavirus infection in the Union Territory — four in Kashmir Valley and one in Udhampur district of Jammu.

With one more person testing positive for the novel disease in Rajouri district, the number of infected persons in Jammu has risen to 55. The number of positive cases in Kashmir Valley stands at 287.

The officials said the person, who tested positive in Rajouri, had come from Kashmir Valley after trekking for four days.

“He was already under quarantine and was shifted to the isolation ward of a hospital in Jammu after his sample tested positive,” the senior official said.

He said five more people, including two boys, who had come in a truck from Ambala in Haryana were also sent to quarantine and their samples were taken.

The boys were on way to Kashmir when they were intercepted by policemen during checking in the city, while three SRTC drivers who had returned from Srinagar were also tested as a precautionary measure, he added.

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