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2nd death in J&K; 5 more test positive, taking count to 38

The deceased had no travel history, but had met a couple from Saudi Arabia recently

Updated: Mar 29, 2020 23:11 IST

By Mir Ehsan, Hindustan Times Srinagar

A policeman sanitising an auto-rickshaw during lockdown in Jammu on Sunday (Nitin Kanotra )

Jammu and Kashmir reported its second Covid-19 casualty after a 67-year-old man, hailing from Tangmarg area of Baramulla district, died at Srinagar’s Chest Disease Hospital on Sunday morning. He had no travel history, but had met a couple from Saudi Arabia recently.

The death came as the newly-created UT recorded five more cases on Sunday, adding to Saturday’s 13, the highest in a single day so far, taking the count to 38.

“Sad start to the day. Unfortunate demise of a coronavirus patient in Srinagar this morning,” Rohit Kansal, principal secretary, JK government, tweeted, adding minutes later in another tweet that five more patients had tested positive. Of these, two are from Srinagar, two are from Budgam and one from Baramulla.

A 65-year-old religious preacher from Srinagar had died of the disease on Thursday. Most patients are contacts of the preacher and another infected person who tested positive last week, after returning from abroad.

J&K chief secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said the administration had undertaken an aggressive testing campaign, as a result of which there was an increase in the number.

“The five new cases were all contacts of existing patients and were asymptomatic. If not tested, it would have never been known for up to two weeks that they were infected. Subsequently, they would have infected 100s of others,” he added, claiming that the testing rate in J-K was above 10% of those kept under surveillance, which was higher than states like Kerala. He said medical capacities, response mechanism and other requirements were being ramped up.

Subrahmanyam complimented frontline health workers, field administration and volunteers for resolutely fighting on the ground to defeat the pandemic.

Srinagar’s deputy commissioner Shahid Choudhary said more needed to be done to break the chain.

Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah, released recently after nearly eight months in detention, also expressed concern over the growing number of cases.

“The number of positive #COVIDー19 cases in J&K is going up but it’s not too late to #FlattenTheCurve. All we have to do is follow the guidelines to maintain #SocialDistancing & #StayAtHomeAndStaySafe. Please disclose your travel history & contacts to the authorities (sic),” Omar tweeted.

So far, 5,763 travelers and people in contact with suspected cases have been put under surveillance.

Of 38 positive patients, 29 are admitted in Kashmir hospitals and nine across Jammu, IANS reported.


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