Community transmission of coronavirus happens in north Kashmir: Report

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Srinagar: In a worrying development North Kashmir is witnessing the first community transmission of the novel coronavirus.

According to a report by The Hindu, Gund Jahangir hamlet in Bandipora, north Kashmir, and in surrounding areas the virus is spreading fast. Sixty-four positive cases have been reported in ten days. The administration is grappling with poor medical staff and a slow rate of testing.

Hajin Block Medical Officer Ajaz Ahmad described the situation at Gund Jahangir, which has 604 households and 3,650 residents, as “a case of cluster spread”. “We are trying our best to break the chain. We continue to collect the samples of the contacts,” he said.

According to the report, 16 per cent population of the village is under quarantine.

Gund Jahangir has the highest number of cases in any tehsil of Jammu and Kashmir. By far, the UT has reported 328 positive cases and five deaths.

The emerging pattern is adding to the administration’s worries. “Around 90% cases that tested positive were asymptomatic. We are dealing with a fluid situation, wherein everyone is a suspect. It has spread fast in the community,” Syed Shahnawaz Bukhari, an officer on special duty in Bandipora, said.

The pace of testing is so slow that just 180 samples have been collected from Gund Jahangir. “We are awaiting the results of 60-70 samples sent from Hajin,” said Dr. Ajaz.

The area is manned by five teams, headed by five doctors, out of 10 doctors assigned to Hajin. “Testing the vulnerable old population should be our priority,” said Mr. Bukhari.

Dr. Ahmad admitted that the administration was “yet to start random testing” despite the cluster cases. This is the result of the poor testing capacity in Kashmir. Of 58,076 people in quarantine, the government had sent 5,366 samples for testing till 16 April.

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