Growth rate of coronavirus slows in J&K but no room for complacency: Kansal

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday said rapid testing and effective control measures have helped reduce the rate of growth of coronavirus cases in the Union Territory.

Principal Secretary (Planning, Development & Monitoring and Information), Rohit Kansal said the testing rate in the UT has been increased to 703 per million, second highest in the country, against 77.5 per million initially.

“We were one of the first to have our own testing facilities. Since then we have been continuously ramping up our facilities. From a testing capacity of 50 tests a day, the number of samples tested yesterday (Monday) was more than 700,” Kansal, who is also the government spokesperson, told reporters here.

He said the capacity would be shortly braced up to 1,000 tests per day in the four ICMR accredited labs in the UT.

“We are enhancing testing capacities in these labs and will shortly add two more labs. We are maintaining supply chains of essential reagents and are adding more and advanced equipment and manpower,” he said.

Kansal said decentralised sample collection centers have also been set up in the districts.

“Our strategy of aggressive tracing and increased testing will continue. We received the first tranche of 24,000 kits for undertaking rapid COVID-19 testing in the community. This along with the already established procedure would be used for more testing,” he said.

Stating that there is certainly a case for some respite, the official said as of this moment, the total number of positive cases in J&K is 380, of which the number of active cases is 294, including 256 in the Kashmir division and 38 in the Jammu division.

“These include 12 new cases – 11 from Kashmir and one from Kathua district of Jammu division who were tested positive for the infection on Tuesday,” he said.

“There have been 81 recoveries which include young children and we also have had five unfortunate deaths,” Kansal said, adding 60,000 persons have been enlisted for surveillance, out of which nearly 35,000 have completed the mandatory 28 days period of surveillance.

Briefing on control measures, he said, based on the results and number of active cases and other parameters, five districts namely Bandipore, Baramulla, Kupwara, Srinagar and Jammu have been identified as hotspot districts in the UT.

“These districts account for more than 80 per cent of the cases in the UT,” he said. Kansal said 92 areas have been designated as ‘red zones’ in the UT– 14 in Jammu Division and 78 in Kashmir Division.

“These red zones will be under strict restrictions, extra surveillance and enhanced testing. We are conscious that this is an inconvenient process and people in red zones, hotspots and containment areas do face difficulties. The administration and the health department are ensuring that the inconvenience is minimised,” he said.

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