Srinagar, Apr 12: Strict restrictions on movement and assembly of people continued on Sunday to curtail the spread of Coronavirus in Kashmir valley, where rapid testing and door-to-door screening have been intensified in Red and Buffer Zones.
Meanwhile, curbs were further tightened after Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Baseer Ahmad Khan, directed Deputy Commissioners to enforce 24x7 (round the clock) strict lock-down in their respective districts in Kashmir, where life remained crippled for the 24th day on Sunday. The Advisor directed DCs to plug all loopholes immediately and take strict action against people who try to break the lockdown.
He asked DCs to involve religious heads so that they can advise their followers against holding any congregations and spread awareness about observing social distancing norms to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Mr Khan issued these directions while chairing a high-level meeting to review the arrangements and preparedness to combat Coronavirus epidemic in the valley. The Srinagar administration has issued guidelines for further regulation of operations of NGOs involved in relief efforts in this summer capital, where 14 areas have been declared as 'Containment Zones' after several positive cases of COVID-19 were reported from these localities.
All the entry points in the Red Zone areas have been sealed barring a few which are meant to facilitate employees on essential duty and to ensure supply of essentials. Similarly, about 25 areas in other districts have been declared as 'Red Zone'. The total number of Coronavirus cases has risen to 224 in the Union Territory of J&K with 17 more people, including 12 from Kashmir and five from Jammu, testing positive for the infection on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 has risen to four in the Union Territory as a woman from Udhampur, who had tested positive for the infection, died late on Wednesday night. Official sources told UNI that restrictions were intensified on movement and assembly of people across Kashmir valley on the 24rd successive day of lockdown. Shops and business establishments remained closed while streets were deserted as locals voluntarily remained indoors due to scare following upward spiral in Coronavirus cases in the valley. Police vehicles fitted with public address system were directing people since early this morning to remain indoors in view of imposition of restrictions under 144 CrPC, barring assembly of more than three people. The streets in uptown and civil lines were deserted as shops and business establishment were closed and traffic was off the roads.
Following the directions by the Advisor, security forces were deployed in these areas, where people alleged that security personnel were not allowing them to move out of their houses. Similar situation was witnessed in downtown, where people also alleged that they were not allowed to move out of their houses even to buy groceries and vegetables. The main roads in downtown and SeK remained closed with barbed wires at Nawa Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, Kawdara and Khanyar. Similar road blocks remained erected by security forces at Nowhatta, Rangar stop and Gojwara. (UNI)