COVID-19: Restrictions tightened further in J&K

Coronavirus lockdown: Restrictions tightened further in Jammu and Kashmir

Kashmir valley reported first death due to the coronavirus as the 65-year-old man, who was tested positive on Tuesday, died

A policeman walks along a deserted road in Jammu. (PTI photo)

The restrictions across Jammu and Kashmir were tightened further on Thursday with police registering hundreds of FIRs against those violating prohibitory orders, to ensure complete lockdown across the Union Territory to prevent the spread of deadly COVID-19.

Kashmir valley reported first death due to the coronavirus as the 65-year-old man, who was tested positive on Tuesday, died at a hospital in Srinagar on Thursday morning.

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Though people continued to observe complete lockdown and keeping themselves indoors to prevent the virus from spreading, police have been going hard against the violators. Over 220 FIRs have been registered against persons defying lockdown orders issued by the government aimed to stop or break down the chain of COVID-19.

An official said that as a preventive measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 and in order to ensure strict implementation of section 144 CrPc, dozens of shops operating in violation of restrictions have been sealed.

Similarly, a control room established in Srinagar for coordinating measures to contain coronavirus spread has received complaints against over 400 persons, who have returned from outside J&K in the recent past but concealed their travel histories.

“The complaints have been received during the past week after the first COVID-19 positive case in the district surfaced on March 18. Of these, over 200 complaints have been verified and found to be true so far after surveillance teams traced the culpable persons. Around 150 of these persons with recent travel histories to outside countries have been shifted to quarantine,” an official spokesperson said.

He said that investigations and verifications have revealed that these persons had returned from Italy, Iran, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Hungary, Taiwan, Malaysia and Kazakhstan.

“The remaining 50-odd persons were found to have had national travel histories and were put under home quarantine,” the spokesperson said and added other persons, who are yet to be traced, are under the process of tracking.

Inspector General Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar said strict restrictions will continue till 15th April which may be extended further as per circumstances. “Administration has instructed operational staff of essential services to get passes from the concerned district magistrates, stay around their place of duties and move for service deliverance only,” he said.

Meanwhile, chemists and pharmacists in Srinagar alleged that the authorities were not allowing them to move, which is hampering dispensation of medicines. According to the estimates, there are around 6,000 chemist shops and around 1000 drug wholesalers in Kashmir province, who ensure supply of medicines to patients.

However, the distributors, as well as chemists, said they were worried as the authorities have not provided them any movement passes which is “hampering our work”.  To add to it, the lockdown which has forced closure of surface as well air link to Kashmir has made them fearful that their existing stock won’t last more than 15 days.