JK Govt issues revised guidlines on COVID-19 containment measures

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Jammu: As the Union Territory on Tuesday witnessed the highest single spike of 359 new COVID-19 positive cases including 266 in Kashmir and 93 in Jammu, the Jammu and Kashmir Government asked all the District Magistrates to keep focuss of positivity rate of closed clustered places like public/private offices, schools, colleges, malls, bazaars etc., and consider staggered timings of operations in case weekly positivity rate goes beyond 10 per cent in these spaces.

Issuing the new guidelines on COVID containment measures effective from April 1, it emphasized on the need to strengthen the three “T’’ protocol testing, tracking and treating, and asked the Divisional Commissioners of both Kashmir and Jammu divisions to supervise and ensure that tests are being conducted uniformly across all the districts, with adequate testing to be done in districts reporting higher number of cases. The proportion of RT-PCR tests in the total mix should be scaled up, on best effort basis, to 70 per cent or more, excluding travelers, it added.

About passengers, travelers or the people returning home, the revised guidelines said that while there will be no restriction on their entry into Jammu and Kashmir whether by road, rail or air, they will have to compulsorily undergo a COVID-29 antigen test through any of the prescribed methods as per protocol of the J&K Government. The protocol for management of COVID positive persons will be followed for all positive cases, it added.

Pointing out that no permission or passes are required for activities which are already permitted under earlier orders, it said that in view of the recent spike in reported cases of infections, educational institutions are “strongly advised to take full safety precautions especially by ensuring social distancing, staggered attendance, maintaining sanitation and hygiene, early identification and isolation of suspected cases’’. It also added that wherever possible, online/distant learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged, and where schools have been conducting online classes smoothly, students may be permitted to attend online classes if they prefer them instead of physically attending the school.

While swimming pools, sports stadiums/sports activities, exhibitions, cinemas, theatres and multiplexes will be allowed subject to revised SOPs issued by Government of India from time to time in January this year, religious places and places of worship will also continue to remain open public subject to already issued SOP in this regard. The ceiling on number of pilgrims visiting Shri Mata Vaishnodevi shrine shall continue to be at 25,000 daily, it added.

It also asked the Deputy Commissioners and subordinate magistrates not to impose any lockdown outside notified containment zones without prior consultation with State Executive Committee, which shall if required may convey its decision only after consulting the Ministry of Home Affairs. However, the District Magistrates may take local preventive measures like not allowing large gatherings, assemblies, processions; notifying micro containment zones for checking spurt of infections in their respective districts etc. Necessary orders in this respect may be issued under the DM Act/CrPC, it added.

Pointing out that vaccination against COVID-19 in the present scenario is critical to break the chain of transmission, it asked all the districts to rapidly step up pace of vaccination to cover all priority and permissible groups, as approved by the Central Government urgently and in an expeditious manner.