Jammu and Kashmir: Increased compliance to SoPs as Covid cases at all time high
More and more Kashmir residents were now seen following Covid appropriate behaviour in the face of unprecedented number of infections and deaths, recorded during the second wave of the disease, crippling medical infrastructure in several states.
Most people were seen wearing masks in public places with some even wearing double masks. While the markets operated at 50% capacity, the number of people venturing outside had also reduced substantially, said officials.
Dr Naveed Nazir said the improvement in people’s attitude could perhaps be due to repeated warning that the fight against Covid was not over yet.
“It needs to be appreciated,” he said referring to the increased public adherence to the Covid containment standard operating procedures (SoPs). “There is hardly anyone who doesn’t wear a mask. This is a good sign,” said, Dr Nazir, head of the Chest Medicines department at Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar.
He reiterated the need for people to take all the precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.
Another senior doctor claimed to have done a rough calculation of the increase in compliance compared to the pattern seen at the end of the last month.
“On the 30th of March, out of 109 people I observed, only 51 (47%) were wearing a mask and half of them were actually wearing it on their chin. But on 26th of April, out of the 155 people observed, 144 (93%) were wearing a mask, that too properly. Let’s pledge to increase the percentage of compliance even further,” said Iqbal Saleem, professor of surgery at GMC, Srinagar,
On Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir reported 25 deaths and 3,164 fresh novel coronavirus infections, the highest spike in daily case since the pandemic began. Of the new cases, 2,134 were from Kashmir while 1,030 were from Jammu. April has already seen over 35,000 new cases and 203 deaths in J&K.
Not just wearing masks, many people in the UT are now lining up for vaccination after a lukewarm response shown till now.
Shakeela Begum, a 48-year-old home maker, got herself vaccinated this week even though her husband, a Covid frontline worker, was not bothering to get inoculated.
“After thinking a lot, I decided to go for the vaccination as it is for our safety. There are a lot of misconceptions about the vaccine among the people. But as images of people dying for want of oxygen go viral, many have changed their mind,” she said.
Although the religious places are open and people have been praying in congregations due to Ramadan, the compliance to SoPs in these places have also increased.
“After Kashmir reported a record number of cases and deaths this week, I decided to pray at home for the safety of my parents and children. I offer Tarawih (special Ramadan) prayers at home now,” said Ishfaq Ahmad, a government employee based in Srinagar.
A prominent religious scholar, Mufti Nazir Ahmad urged that very few people should offer prayers at mosques. “There is no lockdown this time so people can offer prayers in mosques but [need to] bring down the number to a minimum. People should take all precautions both inside and outside the mosques. The situation is very bad,” he said.
Many have been urging religious scholars to ask people to offer prayers at home. “Why should we wait for a government lockdown? Last time the scholars asked people to offer prayers at homes. This time the level of threat has increased. Researchers are saying that the virus spreads more in closed spaces,” said Abdul Majeed, a 61-year-old city resident.
The Srinagar administration on Tuesday evening imposed section 144 CrPC barring assembly of five or more people.
“The rush in public transport is a challenge. We are trying to find a solution by taking transporters on board to reduce the crowding,” said Srinagar superintendent of police, Sandeep Choudhary.