Srinagar: Doctors have called for stricter implementation of COVID-19 protocols after positive cases sharply increased in the last two weeks.
Since the outbreak, at least 160 persons have died after contracting the virus, a majority of them in Kashmir division.
According to official data, as many as 3,943 active positive cases were reported from the union territory till July 10 with a majority of 3,318 cases from Kashmir division and the rest from Jammu.
President, Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) Dr. Suhail Naik said COVID-19 cases and deaths have been rising after restrictions were eased in Kashmir.
“People in the region have stopped taking the infection seriously. Some people feel the pandemic is conspiracy or hoax and that has resulted in complacent behaviour,” he said.
Dr Naik noted that it is illogical to impose a strict lockdown while waiting for a vaccine. “So if people want to move the wheel of socioeconomic sectors and try to take this virus head-on, they should strictly follow physical distancing, wear masks and wash hands frequently,” he said.
He pointed out that any significant deviation from this prescribed protocol will lead to an alarming rise in cases. “People will then go for spontaneous lockdown but that will be too late and no return back situation,” he said.
Professor of Surgery, Government Medical College, Srinagar, Dr Iqbal Saleem said a serious review of the situation is needed. “The patients should not come in waves; they should come in trickles. If they come in waves, our health system will collapse and the death rate will climb,” he said.
He noted that only one percent of mortality has been reported due to COVID 19. “One doesn’t know how many COVID deaths have happened at home and there is no official confirmation on that,” he said.
Dr Iqbal stressed that there should be a smart lockdown rather than a complete lockdown. “The authorities should make sure the livelihood of people doesn’t get affected and at the same time ensure they are safe. Coming out with a concrete plan is the need of the hour,” he said.
Dr Muzzafar Maqbool, Associate Professor GMC, Srinagar took to twitter to voice his concern. “Hand fold request to my friends and the general public in particular that the coming weeks are going to be crucial related to our fight against COVID 19. Kindly Stay home and leave your homes only when necessary. Please wear masks and take proper precautions,” he wrote.
Dr Shahnawaz B Kaloo, a Kashmiri doctor based in Delhi said a complete lockdown is probably not needed right now. “But God forbid if our hospitals are flooded with patients we will have no choice other than a strict lockdown. Following the protocols seriously is much needed,” he said.