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Kashmir heading towards shutdown

Srinagar: A day after a woman tested positive for coronavirus, Kashmir valley was headed towards a virtual lock down on Thursday as restrictions were imposed on movement of people in several parts and all public transport banned in Srinagar city.

The area within 300-metre radius of the house of the 67-year-old COVID-19 patient in Khanyar locality has been sealed off and officials of the health department are going house to house to check if any of her neighbours have symptoms of the disease, officials said.

Security forces have been deployed in strength in the old city to ensure that the restriction order on movement of people is implemented in letter and spirit, they said.

However, it is an uphill task for the administration and health officials to track down everyone who has come in contact with the patient over the past couple

of days.

“She returned from Saudi Arabia on March 16 after performing Umrah (minor Hajj pilgrimage). She received a number of visitors – relatives and neighbours – and it will be a tough task to track all of them down,” a health department official said on the condition of anonymity.

Some relatives of the woman are working at senior positions in the healthcare sector and police department, which has caused concern among official circles.Deputy commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary urged all the people, who might have come in contact with the coronavirus patient after her return from Saudi Arabia on Monday, to report at the nearest health facility or contact the  control room.

“It’s important that people who come in contact with coronavirus positive case(s) should immediately report to nearest health facility or our 24×7 control room,”

he said.

Regional transport officer, Kashmir, has imposed a ban on all forms of public transport within Srinagar city while also banning entry of any public transport vehicle from adjoining districts of the summer capital of the union territory.

Chaudhary said the restrictions on the movement and assembly of people was to prevent spread of the virus.

“The restrictions on public gatherings, assembly and movement in many areas are aimed at avoiding spread of any likely cases,” he tweeted and urged people to cooperate.

The deputy commissioner warned against any rumour mongering about coronavirus.

“Rumours and unverified information shared on social media will certainly attract strict action. Let’s act like responsible citizens. Every information and advisory will be shared officially,” he said.

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