Covid-19: Restrictions to continue in Kashmir, violators to face action

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Srinagar: A day after once again being notified as ‘Red Zone’, the administration on Monday said that restriction on public movement and non-essential activities would continue in view of spike in COVID-19 cases in Kashmir valley.
The administration warned strict action against people violating guidelines including wearing of face masks and maintaining social distance — under Disaster Management Act in the valley, including Srinagar, which is the worst affected district with 12 deaths due to the infection so far.
The J&K UT administration on Sunday classified entire Kashmir valley, barring Ganderbal and Bandipora, as Red Zone.
However, a good number of private vehicles were plying on roads in view of authorities asking all employees to report to their offices, which saw relatively high attendance as compared to Saturday.
J&K witnessed the highest single-day spike of 620 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday while 43 deaths have been reported due to the infection so far in the Union Territory. The Srinagar city on Sunday recorded 87 new COVID-19 cases, while the highest number of 161 positive cases were reported from Kulgam.
However, Deputy Commissioner (DC), Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said ‘we should emphasize on precautions in public instead of triggering panic with numbers’.
He said as life opening elsewhere, please don’t lose sight of local stats. “We’re working out best solution/SoPs with stakeholders,” he added.
Official sources said that all restrictions imposed under May 31 order would continue till further directions. The order permits only essential services to operate and prohibits all other activities in the district.
Shops and business establishments, which opened early in the morning, were once again closed after police directed the shopkeepers to down the shutters in view of the restrictions to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
But, people allege that there was no clarity about which activities are permitted in the district. “If grocery stores or vegetable shops come under essential services, why are we being directed to close our establishments? If not, then which service qualifies for essential services? And till how long can we survive without earning our livelihood,” Junaid, a shopkeeper from Srinagar said.
Similar, reports were coming from other parts of the city — including uptown, downtown and civil lines — including Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the summer capital, Srinagar, where shops were closed after functioning for few morning hours.
Reports of implementation of restrictions to curtail the spread of COVID-19 were coming from other districts as well.
In an order issued by Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam, the UT administration classified eight districts of Kashmir including Srinagar, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Shopian, Kulgam, Anantnag and Pulwama – as Red Zone while Bandipora and Ganderbal are in Orange Zone.
After the classification order, Dr Choudhary said there will no major relaxation in Srinagar for now. “New “Red Zone” guidelines leave lot to local adms. As you see life opening elsewhere, pls don’t lose sight of local stats. We’re working out best solution/SoPs with stakeholders. No major relaxation for now,” he wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.
“We should emphasize on precautions in public instead of triggering panic with numbers. In the later case it’s also true that out of 23,589 #Srinagar residents tested so far only 400 odd are +ve, including 50 per cent travellers. Let’s encourage everyone to follow precautions,” he added.