KASHMIR’S 1ST OMICRON-INFECTED CASE: Authorities start contract tracing in Uri

A day after a pregnant woman in the Dhani Syeda area of Uri was declared Omicron-infected, the health authorities in Uri have started contact tracing of the patient.

A health official said that samples of around 60 people who had directly or indirectly come in contact with the patient had been collected and investigation of samples was in progress.

Block Medical Officer (BMO) Uri Muhammad Ramzan told Greater Kashmir that they had collected samples of 60 persons as part of contact tracing of the first Omicron-variant infected person of Kashmir.

“Earlier, when she was tested positive for the COVID-19 virus on December 20, we had traced her 50 contacts then and all tested negative for the virus,” he said.

The woman tested for the Omicron variant hails from the remote village of Uri.

The village is located close to the Line of Control.

As per officials, the affected woman has no history of travel, besides no one from outside Jammu and Kashmir has visited her in the last few months.

“As the woman is in the ninth month of her pregnancy, her sample was collected on December 20 at Sub District Hospital Uri. The test was sent to GMC Baramulla where her sample along with several others was sent for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) result of which confirmed her being infected with the Omicron variant,” said a health official in Baramulla.

Meanwhile, the health officials in the Uri and Boniyar area of Baramulla district started a comprehensive precautionary vaccination drive in the areas.

Despite adverse weather conditions, especially in the upper reaches of Boniyar and Uri, where some areas had recorded more than 3 feet of snow, the health workers were working tirelessly to administer the “precautionary dose” among the locals aged over 60 years.

Talking to the media, Block Medical Officer Boniyar Dr Parvez Masoodi said, “We have divided the villages in Boniyar area into four zones. The vaccination of over 60-years is in progress despite inclement weather. We will achieve the target in a few days.”

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Baramulla, Bhupinder Kumar told the media that Baramulla district was fully prepared to combat the situation arising after the increase in COVID-19 cases.

He said that at Government Medical College Baramulla, 3500 to 4000 RTPCR and other rapid tests were being performed daily.

“To deal with the present pandemic situation, we have increased the oxygen bed capacity compared to the second wave of COVID-19, which was less than 1000 to 6000 LPM. Besides, around 1200 concentrators and bulk cylinders have been kept available in the district,” Kumar said.