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Segregated lockdown

The administration in Jammu and Kashmir Wednesday decided to enforce an 84-hour ‘corona curfew’ in 11 districts including both capitals Srinagar and Jammu in view of the rising Covid-19 cases and fatalities in the erstwhile state. The move is a welcome one as it can help to reduce the daily caseload so that the current spike sees some thaw and there is lesser pressure on the healthcare system which otherwise has started to become overwhelmed. At the same time, this segregated lockdown will also mean that the economic activity is not shut altogether. Last year, the entire country was placed under lockdown and it proved to be a disastrous move impacting millions of lives and dealing a severe blow to the already struggling economy of India. As such, one hopes that this new tactic to go for a weekend or half-a-week lockdown will help reduce the cases as well as not severely impact the economic situation in Jammu and Kashmir. At the same time, people must also realise the importance of getting themselves vaccinated and following the necessary protocols to fight this new and more virulent strain of the virus. Even when the lockdown is not in place, people must move out only when needed and those that have to be on roads to earn their livelihood must maintain social distance and make usage of masks mandatory. In another welcome move, the managing authorities at Srinagar’s Jama Masjid and other shrines Wednesday decided to close them for congregational prayers for now. This too was a must-needed step making it clear that people can offer prayers at home and that saving human lives and ensuring that the infection does not spread between those offering prayers at the mosques is equally important. As for the number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities, they have shot up in an unprecedented manner in April with data sketching a very grim picture for the month so far. The cumulative number of cases rose from 131,421 on April 1 to 166,054 by April 27 adding over 34,500 infections to the tally in less than four weeks. The number of active positive cases in the erstwhile state increased from mere 2874 on April 1 to 22,283 by April 27, the day which recorded the highest 3164 news cases. Kashmir, which was sitting at 2150 active cases on April 1, added over 10,000 more active positive cases pushing the tally to 13436 by April 27. Jammu too saw a huge spike from mere 724 active positive cases on April 1 to 8847 by April 27. Fatalities too have shot up with J&K recording 199 deaths in April so far. Of them, 126 people have died in the last one week alone. Friday saw 19 deaths, followed by 15 on Saturday, 21 on Sunday, 25 on Monday, and 25 again on Tuesday. Srinagar is one of the worst-hit districts. The active positive cases in the summer capital have surged from 1158 on April 1 to 6872 on April 27. As many as 41 people died due to the virus in the district during the period. On Tuesday, the summer capital saw a record 1144 cases of which only 27 are travellers pointing towards the increasing ferocity of the new wave of novel coronavirus among the city residents. With such an unprecedented increase in the number of cases, hospitals in J&K have started to feel the rush. Authorities, however, claim that they are coping well with it and have adequate oxygen generation capacity, besides sufficient oxygen cylinders in stock. One hopes that the UT’s healthcare as well as these segregated lockdowns are able to bring down the number of cases and that we see some respite in the coming days.