Jammu and Kashmir imposes weekend restrictions amid surge in Covid cases


Amid a sharp surge in Covid cases, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday (January 15) imposed “complete restriction on non-essential movement” during weekends in the Union Territory. 

As Covid cases rose by 2,456 a day earlier, the Jammu and Kashmir administration imposed a night curfew from 9 pm to 6 am in all districts along with the complete restriction on non-essential movement.

The order was issued by the State Executive Committee headed by Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta.

The decision was taken following a detailed review of the current Covid-19 situation in Jammu and Kashmir by the Chief Secretary with the ACS (Finance), ACS (Health and Medical Education), Principal Secretary (Home), Principal Secretary (PWD- R&B), ADG/IGs, Divisional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police and other officers of Jammu and Kashmir on January 14.

“It was observed that there is a need for additional measures besides continuing with the existing COVID containment measures in all Districts in view of the uneven trend observed in daily Covid cases as well as rising positivity rate,” the committee said.

The SEC underlined that the enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour was critical in determining the need for additional restrictions.

“All the Government Department(s)/Office(s) shall minimise conducting in-person meetings/interactions etc. All Administrative Secretaries/ Head of the Departments)/ Institution(s) shall ensure optimal use of virtual mode for conducting official meetings etc,” reads an order by SEC.

To reduce the rate of transmission within J&K, the SEC said that all efforts shall be made by authorities through active involvement of PRIs, Community Leaders, Market Associations and Federations.

“IEC campaign for containing surge in Covid cases/3rd Wave shall be undertaken immediately by all District Magistrates (Chairperson, District Disaster Management Authorities) in their respective jurisdictions highlighting the necessity of Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB).”

The SEC reiterated that a maximum number of people permitted to attend any indoor or outdoor gathering shall be strictly restricted to 25.

“Banquet halls in all the districts of J&K are permitted to allow gathering up to 25 vaccinated persons (with verifiable RT-PCR or RAT not older than 72 hours) or 25% of the authorised capacity (whichever is less), preferably in open spaces.”

The order read that cinema halls, theatres, multiplexes, restaurants, clubs, gymnasiums and swimming pools are permitted to function at 25% of the authorised capacity with due precautions such as CAB and adherence to the SOPs.

As regards the education institutions, all Colleges, Schools, Polytechnics, ITIs, Coaching Centres for Civil Services/Engineering/NEET etc. have been asked to adopt online medium of teaching. “There shall be no in-person teaching.”

Also, night Curfew shall continue to remain in force in all Districts from 9 pm to 6 am with complete restriction on non-essential movement.

“There shall also be complete restriction on non-essential movement during weekends in entire J&K,” the order reads, adding, “All Deputy Commissioners shall intensify testing and ensure full utilisation of available RT-PCR and RAT capacities. There shall be no drop in testing levels.”

The Deputy Commissioners have been also asked to focus on the positivity rates of the Medical-Blocks under their jurisdictions. “Intensified measures related to Covid management and restriction of activities shall be undertaken in these Blocks.”

Inner-state movement of passenger vehicles of State Road Transport Corporation and private buses shall be permitted for fully vaccinated people with verifiable RT-PCR report not older than 72 hours or on-spot RAT test.

Vaccinated people will be allowed entry to parks after due verification.

“Entry into Parks shall be permitted to vaccinated persons only with due verification. Surprise checks shall be conducted by inspection teams to assess the implementation and initiate corrective measures.”

Jammu and Kashmir recorded the highest single-day rise of Covid cases this year on Friday when 2,456 fresh infections pushed the tally to 3,52,623, while five fatalities took the death linked to the viral disease to 4,557.

The SEC directed all deputy commissioners to intensify testing and constitute teams to enforce Covid appropriate behaviour.

The Home Secretary will monitor the enforcement of Covid appropriate behaviour closely and submit a report to the chairperson of the SEC daily basis, the order said. District magistrates can order the setting up of as many micro containment zones as needed.

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