COVID-19: VIP culture puts lives at risk in Kashmir, many skip quarantine



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A lady doctor checks temperature of a passenger at Srinagar airport. Photograph by Yashraj Sharma for The Kashmir Walla

Srinagar: Locals living in the vicinity of “VIP’s” who had managed to bring their wards bypassing the airport screening have raised serious concerns about their presence and urged the authorities to take them into quarantine.

Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that several students coming from countries like Bangladesh, Iran and others were allowed to go without screening using their influence.

Students while talking to The Kashmir Walla on Thursday had alleged that some of the students were allowed to leave, “Our batchmates were allowed to leave, they had arrived via a Delhi flight.”

Another student made similar allegations, “We came here in the morning via Chandigarh flight. We went through the temperature check. Then they asked all the students from Bangladesh to get in a corner. Another flight came in an hour. They were also asked to do the same. Then after two hours they told us that we all will be quarantined,” Adding that students who came via Delhi were allowed to exit the airport.

A day after the development, several people from these localities while talking to The Kashmir Walla have said that they are living in fear and anxiety. “An officer working at the airport has managed to bring his son to home without being in quarantine. His son was studying in Iran,” said a local from Lal Bazar.

Adding that it has created fear among the locals, “This is insane, at a time when the government is taking measures to prevent spread of coronavirus these people are being stupid to think that bringing home their children without undergoing quarantine would save them,” he said.

Another local from Srinagar’s uptown area expressed similar concerns. “We are worried that this act of stupidity might lead to mass infections. They are our neighbours, so no one is even willing to tell them that they should not do it,” said Absar Ahmad. He further said that authorities should immediately identify these people and place them under quarantine for the safety of everyone.

Similar complaints have been made on social media as well.

On Wednesday, Kashmir reported it’s first case of novel coronavirus that has killed over 10,000 people worldwide. The 67-year-old Srinagar woman had returned from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah. Authorities put in strict measures following the development by imposing restrictions across Kashmir valley.

On Thursday it came to the fore that the infected woman had skipped screening at the airport after intervention of her son-in-law who is a police officer.

The elderly woman had escaped mandatory quarantine on arrival from Saudi Arabia as she walked out of the Srinagar airport using the VIP exit gate after her influential relative intervened.

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