With 10,000 Covid-19 Tests Per Million, Jammu & Kashmir Ahead of all States in Covid-19 Testing

BY SHEIKH QAYOOM (22:36) , May 25 (IANS) With a testing rate of over 10,000 per million, Jammu & Kashmir is now leading all states in the country in testing.

Rohit Kansal, J&K government spokesman told a press conference on Monday that J&K is testing 10,000 people per million thereby becoming number one in the country.

"The testing capacity in the UT has gone up from just about 100 tests per day in March to 8,000 tests per day today. In the last one month alone it has gone up from 1,800 tests per day to 8,100 per day - an increase of 350 per cent."

"Aggressive and sustained testing is the only effective weapon against the disease and the administration shall continue to pursue it effectively. J&K was probably one of the first states or UTs to take note of the emerging situation and initiate action and many of our interventions have not only been been fast but effective too.

"It may be recalled that the total number of COVID 19 cases in J&K is 1,668, out of which 1,374 are from Kashmir division and 294 are from Jammu division. The number of active cases are 836 of which 620 are in Kashmir Division and 216 are in Jammu division.

"As many as 809 recoveries which include young children and 23 unfortunate deaths have also been reported. A total of over 1.34 lakh persons have been enlisted for surveillance out of which over 72,000 have completed mandatory period of surveillance. 47 new Covid positive cases have been reported today, out of which 33 cases are from Jammu division and 14 cases are from Kashmir".

Kansal pointed out that while J&K had been able to achieve a low growth rate and a doubling rate of over 3 weeks, this should not become a cause of complacency.

Reminding that effective lockdown, strong containment policy, aggressive testing and cooperation by the people of J&K has played a key role in containment of COVID-19, the spokesperson said that there is no room for any laxity.

"What we now need is to understand that there are enough worrying factors in the situation. 15 deaths have been reported in last month alone. There is at least one district which has more than 200 active cases and at least one district with more than 150 active cases. There are at least 2 districts where the number of active cases per million are higher than 150. At least half of the districts have a doubling rate of less than 14 days.

"At least 2 districts have seen a considerable increase in cases even when there are no returnees. In fact, there are many areas where the positivity rate of cases is much higher for local population than for returnees", he said and added that a number of local, indigenous cases for which contact chains are not yet fully clear have also been reported which is a cause of concern.

He said that over 90,000 stranded persons have already returned to J&K in the last 4 weeks alone, they include 66,024 persons by road, 25,400 by 30 Shramik special and COVID special Rajdhani trains and 652 persons by air. "J&K is the one state/UT which has smoothly completed more than 85 per cent of its evacuation process. The government has consciously adopted a policy of testing 100 per cent of all returnees."

"All the returnees are being tested, and as a result of the strategy the administration has been successful in tracing 481 positive cases so far.

"By testing people at the entry point we are ensuring that positive cases are traced and isolated at the entry point itself, thereby avoiding any infections getting into the community", he added.

Emphasizing on the importance of economy and livelihoods, Kansal said that the UT government has issued SoPs for the reopening of markets, industry and trade. Similarly SOPs have been issued for returnees and passengers. "But as responsible citizens we need to realize that any complacency or letting down of the guard can cost us very dearly. In red zones and containment zones, there is a need to be vigilant otherwise all the efforts of the last 2 months will be wasted," he cautioned.

The spokesperson appealed to people to stay at home and go out of their homes only if it is absolutely necessary and follow the advisories, wear a mask, and practice social distancing. "Remember, the virus is alive, it is active and it has given no relaxation. So, our self restraint and discipline must continue", he warned.