While no positive case of COVID -19 has been reported in Kashmir so far, a large number of non-locals as well as locals have managed to enter the valley without any proper screening. Although at least 3 positive cases have been reported from Jammu, Kashmir has been free from the virus as of March 18.
Sources said that although the team of health department and police have been checking and inquiring the visitors and tourists about their travel history, there are hundreds who have managed to enter the valley without any screening.
“Many of the people including non-locals managed to enter the valley without any screening,” they said, adding that it is posing serious threat to the lives of many people living in Kashmir.
A Railway official confirmed that hundreds of locals and non-locals are being let go without any screening at Banihal railway station in Jammu region. The trains ply from Banihal to Baramulla in north Kashmir
A group of non-local labourers, who recently arrived in Kashmir, said they do not know which route their driver used to take to reach the Valley. “We were not screened at any placed till we reached Kashmir,” they said.
However, Director Health Services Kashmir (DHSK), Dr Samir Matoo said that they have blocked all alternative routes and are not allowing any one to enter Kashmir without proper screening.
“We have set up check points, both at railway stop Banihal as well as on Srinagar-Jammu highway, and won't allow anyone to enter the valley without going through screening,” he said.
So-far three persons have tested positive for deadly COVID-19 in Jammu region, while in Ladakh union territory, six positive cases have been reported.
Meanwhile, J&K government has banned entry of foreign tourists as a precautionary measure. Secretary Tourism, Director Tourism, Kashmir and Jammu and all the deputy commissioners have been asked to ensure implementation of the order with immediate effect.