COVID-19: Twin districts of Ladakh turn into ghost regions as 13 test positive

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Srinagar : Kargil and Leh towns are presenting a ghost look since the outbreak of Coronavirus. 13 have been tested positive in the twin towns among which one hails from Kargil while rest from the Leh.

Most of the persons infected from lethal virus are from Chechot Gompa village of Leh. Chechot Gompa is a Muslim majority village though Buddhist too live here.

Shops and businesses are shuttered both in Leh and Kargil”. The congested streets have for the past two weeks been nearly empty, made even quieter by recent snowfall, as residents continue quarantining themselves at home. Some shops, unsure when they can reopen, have started selling off their stores of produce to residents stockpiling food.

“The last time we witnessed such kind of scary situation was in 1999, when Kargil war broke out. People then stayed inside underground bunkers and this time they prefer to spent time in houses,” said Ahmed Sharh, a resident of Kargil to Kashmir News Trust.

Across Ladakh, from towns to villages, lives have been put on hold as the newly created Union Territory is grappling with the expanding Coronovirus, whose death toll and infection rate show no signs of slowing. Residents who talked to KNT described a state of limbo, amid suffocating quarantine measures, uncertainty about work and school, dwindling supplies of fresh food and medicine, and increased anxiety about the real extent of the virus – and how much authorities are doing to contain it.

Scores of people in Chechot Gompa village that recently witnessed the death of one Ali Muhammad due to Coronavirus infection staged a protest on Saturday alleging that authorities are mixing negative patients with positive ones and the quarantine facilities are nothing but a myth. “Those who have recovered have been kept with those whose tests have been found positive. We think, authorities are not serious about the issue and they are the source of spreading this virus at thick and fast,” said a protester Muhammad Akbar.

“Our neighbors Ali Muhammad, Muhammad Hussain and Nazir Ahmed who were tested negative, have been quarantined with positive patients. “This must stop and authorities ought to show some seriousness,” he said.

Sajad Ahmed who was watching the protesters told this Reporter that people can’t go out and they are too bored, so they start fighting. “Everyone is idle. Internet is the only source of entertainment but people here use it to get latest about COVED-19,” he added.

Administrative Secretary, Rigzen Samphel addressed a press conference in which he informed that emergence of three more positive cases-two from Leh and one from Kargil. “All these three persons tested positive are the relatives of those who are already infected with Coronavirus,” he said. The brief press conference was attended by only four to five people who work for different media outlets.

In Kargil, people are virtually under house arrest. There is panic in Baroo, Poin, Sanko, Trespon and dozens of village and same is situation in Leh areas including Chickten, Shargole, Taisuru and other areas.

The impact of Coronavirus is not so high in Zanskar division. Padum town where majority of houses belong to Muslims have already left it and are staying in Kashmir. The Buddhists there are numb but hoping this lethal virus won’t surface here. Ironically, people at Panikhar, Karshai, Suny and other villages are least bothered about the growing impact of Coronavirus. “There is no influx of outsiders, so chances of this virus to get spread in Zanskar is minimal,” said a medico. (KNT)

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