As Covid cases spike, half of Srinagar locks down
Lockdown restrictions returned in many parts of the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu & Kashmir’s capital, Srinagar, on Monday, as the authorities sealed several areas amid a surge in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) positive cases over the past week.Updated: Jul 13, 2020 13:51 IST
Lockdown restrictions returned in many parts of the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu & Kashmir’s capital, Srinagar, on Monday, as the authorities sealed several areas amid a surge in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) positive cases over the past week.
On Monday morning, the authorities, including police personnel, can be seen roaming on Srinagar’s streets and urging the public to stay indoors.
“People are requested not to come out of their homes. Only your co-operation can help in the containment of this viral disease,” said the announcements made via public address system fitted on the vehicles.
Shops and markets are closed and intra-district movement of mini-buses and private taxis has also been suspended.
The roads are nearly deserted amid a massive presence of J&K Police and paramilitary forces.
“The police have erected iron barricades and sealed roads in the containment zones. There is hardly any vehicular movement, except those for emergency services,” said Javaid Ahmad of Nowpora, a containment zone in Srinagar.
On Sunday, J&K administration had ordered a partial lockdown in Srinagar — the worst-affected district in the UT — by designating over 88 containment zones amid a surge in Covid-19 positive cases over the past week, officials said.
The lockdown is being imposed in 88 red zones of the city and no movement would be allowed in these areas without permission, they said.
Shahid Chaudhary, deputy commissioner (DC), Srinagar, said that penalties have been increased such as Rs 1,000 for not wearing face masks in public places and Rs 10,000 for violating social distancing norms.
Srinagar’s main thoroughfares are open, but the by-lanes and interiors of the city are off-limits for the public.
“It took me 45 minutes to reach Khanyar from Karan Nagar, which usually takes a maximum of 15 minutes because all interior link roads have been barricaded. All markets are shut and a few people are out on the roads,” said Mohammad Saabit, a businessman from Srinagar’s Old City.
J&K has reported 10,513 Covid-19 positive cases until Sunday since the first viral outbreak case was reported in the UT on March 9. The death toll stands at 179, including 162 and 17 in Kashmir and Jammu divisions, respectively, until Saturday.
Srinagar has recorded 1,708 Covid-19 positive cases, including 1,145 active ones and 44 fatalities.
Some areas have been de-notified, where there is no restriction on the movement of people, but authorities are urging the public to compulsorily wear face masks and strictly maintain social distancing norms in these areas.
DC Chaudhary said 24 existing containment zones have been partially de-notified after they didn’t report any fresh Covid-19 positive cases.
“We are thankful to the public for their co-operation and observing norms to bring their areas out of it. Gratitude to field teams for all the efforts. Let’s continue to observe precautions,” Chaudhary said.
Healthcare experts have warned that hospitals in Srinagar would “crumble under pressure” if the administration did not impose lockdown restrictions soon amid a spike in Covid-19 positive cases.
The Kashmir Valley has reported more Covid-19-related deaths since June 7, which has recorded a 73% spike in the total fatalities and 78 people succumbed to their viral infection in the past 12 days alone.