COVID: Kashmir lockdown completes 4 weeks; vaccination drive picks up pace

Srinagar, May 26 (UNI) Strict restrictions continued even as there was slight dip in the number of fresh Coronavirus positive cases though there was no letup in the deaths due to the infection in Kashmir valley, where the COVID curfew completed four weeks on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the vaccination drive his picked up pace with authorities targeting high risk groups, including shopkeepers, journalists, traders and lawyers in the valley, where thousands of people have been fined and arrested for violating COVID curfew and other guidelines since April 29.

The Joint Coordination Committee of City Center (JCCCC) Traders on Wednesday appealed to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to lift the restrictions imposed in Kashmir valley, including the summer capital, Srinagar, following dip in the number of fresh COVID-19 cases. The statement by the traders’ body comes a day after Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Mohammad Aijaz Asad ruled out immediate relaxation in COVID curfew in the city.

Even though the spread of COVID-19 has dipped slightly in Srinagar and other parts of the valley, there was no relaxation in the number of deaths per day due to the infection. As many as 2964 new positive cases, including 1819 from Kashmir and 1145 from Jammu, were on Tuesday reported in the Union Territory. Fifty three people, including 20 from Kashmir and 33 from Jammu, lost their lives to the infection on Tuesday.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday extended the COVID curfew, which was supposed to end on May 23, by another week till May 31 in all 20 districts of the Union Territory amid no letup in the number of fresh coronavirus cases and deaths. This was the fourth successive extension of COVID curfew since April 29 in the valley.

A heavy rush of people was witnessed during the morning hours on the roads, besides outside banks and ATMs in the city and other parts of the valley, where police had to intervene and sent them back to their homes. Later, streets again wore a deserted look while shops and business establishments were closed and traffic was off the roads in the valley, including Srinagar. Standalone shops — selling fruits, vegetables, grocery, milk and other dairy products — have been allowed to function between 0600 hrs and 1000 hrs every day amid strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, including ensuring social distancing in Srinagar and other districts in the valley.

All the roads and market places, including Lal Chowk, the the nerve centre of the summer capital remained sealed to prevent movement of people. Shops and businesses established were closed while all the roads were deserted as traffic and people were off the roads in downtown, civil lines, uptown in Srinagar. But, people with emergency or associated with essential services, including doctors and paramedics were allowed to move on the roads after proper verification at various checkpoints established by police.

Reports of similar restrictions were coming from other parts of the valley, including Sopore, Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara in north and Shopian, Anantnag, Pulwama and Kulgam in south Kashmir. Shops and business establishment were closed and road wore a deserted look in these districts, where police parties were patrolling their respective areas to ensure strict implementation of the lockdown.

Business and other activities remained crippled in central Kashmir districts of Budgam and Ganderbal, where roads have been closed with barbed wires in most parts to prevent movement of vehicles and people.


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