Kashmir better prepared to tackle 2nd Covid-19 wave says medical expert


a person standing in front of a window: A health worker takes a nasal swab sample of a girl to test for COVID-19 at a test center in Srinagar,17 April 2021. (Photo by Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times)

© Provided by Hindustan Times A health worker takes a nasal swab sample of a girl to test for COVID-19 at a test center in Srinagar,17 April 2021. (Photo by Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times)

Jammu and Kashmir’s top pulmonologist Dr Javaid Malik on Tuesday said hospitals in Kashmir were better prepared to tackle the second wave of Covid-19 compared to the last year. He also stressed the need to develop health infrastructure in “a big way” across the union territory to meet any emergencies such as the coronavirus outbreak.

As soon as the cases in the second wave started to rise, six wards at the government-run Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital in Srinagar were designated as Covid wards, similarly, more than 100 beds at the Covid centre created at the indoor stadium at Baramulla have been made operational and more beds have been designated for treatment of Covid-19 patients at the Sher- i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), said an official.

“We don’t have a shortage of vaccines or medicines this time,” said Atal Duloo, financial commissioner, health. Another senior government official in the valley, divisional commissioner Pandurang K Pole said not even 30% of the 1,500 Covid beds available in level 1 and level 2 health facilities in the UT were occupied.

Apart from keeping the health infrastructure ready, Dr Javaid Malik, also a member of the Jammu and Kashmir Covid task force, identified vaccination as the key to stem the rising flow of infections.

“I would specifically like to stress on Covid vaccination which is going to retard the propagation of the ruthless Covid pandemic that has deprived our kids of education, devastated economies and ruined social life world over. The people should come forward for vaccination for common good,” he said.

The government is setting up several additional vaccination centres in the UT including 50 in Srinagar with the aim to expand the vaccination drive manifold, said deputy commissioner Srinagar, Ajaz Asad. Presently, Srinagar district has 96 vaccination centres.

On Monday, for the second day in a row, more than 1,500 new Covid cases were reported in the UT. The 1,516 cases recorded on Monday were the highest daily count since September 12, when 1, 698 cases were recorded. The number of active cases in the UT rose to reach 12,164, taking the overall infections tally to 148,208. With six fresh fatalities — four in Kashmir and two in Jammu division– the death toll in the UT has reached 2,063, according to officials.

The administration has decided to extend the night curfew to all municipal and urban local bodies in the 20 districts of the union territory. The night curfew was earlier in force in eight districts between 10pm and 6am.

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