Authorities in Kashmir have intensified ground surveillance to track travellers, who hid their recent travel history, to contain the spread of coronavirus, even as restrictions on the movement of people across the valley remained in force for the 22nd consecutive day on Thursday, officials said.
The tracking of those persons who have travel history but are absconding is being taken up on a war-footing basis, the officials said.
These measures have been taken after a group of five persons, who had travelled to an African country recently, tested positive for COVID-19. These persons were placed in administrative quarantine upon their arrival in Kashmir last month.
They said ground surveillance teams in every district are being strengthened to trace such persons immediately so as to put them for proper screening and quarantine.
The steps are being taken after Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole, directed all Deputy Commissioners (DCs) in the valley to track-down all absconding travellers on a war-footing basis in their respective districts and put them in administrative quarantine.
Pole passed these directions while chairing a meeting late on Wednesday to review preparedness and fool-proof arrangements to combat coronavirus disease in the valley.
All Deputy Commissioners were asked to strengthen their ground surveillance teams and trace the absconding recent travellers, of other states and abroad visitors, immediately and put them for proper screening and quarantine, the officials said.
They said Additional Deputy Commissioners in each district have been put in-charge of contact tracing and they were following the mechanism as per the prescribed advisory.
The move came after the graph of positive cases of COVID-19 patients in Jammu and Kashmir rose sharply on Wednesday as 33 new cases were detected in the union territory, taking the total number of infected persons to 158.
Meanwhile, the restrictions on the movement and assembly of people in Kashmir continued.
They said tight curbs were in place across the valley in view of the surge in the number of positive cases in Kashmir.
Security forces have sealed off the main roads in the valley and erected barriers at several places to check the unwanted movement of the people and to enforce the lockdown, the officials said.
The markets across the valley were shut and public transport was off the roads with only pharmacies and groceries allowed to open, they added.
Educational institutions across Kashmir are closed, while all public places including gymnasiums, parks, clubs and restaurants were shut down more than a week before the nationwide lock down announced by the Prime Minister.
While the Prime Minister announced the country-wide lockdown on the evening of March 24, the union territory administration here had on March 22 announced a lockdown across Jammu and Kashmir till 31 March as part of its efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The administration said the essential services including healthcare personnel have been exempted from the restrictions.
Restrictions were first imposed in many parts of the valley on March 19 to contain the spread of the virus infection. The measures were taken after the detection of the first positive case of coronavirus in the valley.