ANANTNAG: At the screening point established at Lower Munda, Qazigund, to check persons entering Kashmir valley for symptoms of COVID-19, the sense of uneasiness and anxiety is visible on the faces of passengers as they go through the screening test, after passing Jawahar Tunnel.
The travellers undergo thermal screening at the designated screening point, after which they’re allowed to enter Kashmir. The travel details of every passenger are noted, along with the registration number of the vehicles in which they are travelling.
The scenes at the screening point are strange, with passengers usually avoiding talking to anyone before their tests. Only after they are declared fine, they utter some words assuring themselves that they’re fine and can go home.
Two persons after taking the test and boarding their car back, said to each other, “God has saved us, we are fine and can go home normally. I was trembling with fear while they were testing us. I thought the world had stopped for a minute.”
A passenger, who was yet to take the screening test, murmured “May Allah save us, I have been praying all the way along. I don’t have any symptoms, but still I couldn’t get a grip over myself.”
Another passenger said that he was hopeful the screening test would go fine, but he was praying all along the way.
A heavy traffic jam at the screening point also adds to the worry and panicking of passengers, after they observe a huge number of vehicles stranded at a particular point.
Though the screening test only takes seconds, and almost everyone has been passing the test, a sense of fear prevails in the minds of everyone.
The thermal screening checks body temperature to detect fever.
“Once vehicles pass Jawahar Tunnel, an uneasy calm and uncertainty prevails as we approach the screening point,” said a cab-driver, Rafiq, who ferries passengers on the route.
Several cab-drivers who ferry passengers on the Jammu-Srinagar highway narrated tales of worry and uneasiness among passengers upon reaching the screening point at Lower Munda. Most passengers fear that they may be diagnosed with symptoms and keep on enquiring about the screening process while travelling on the way.
“I had to ferry a family from Jammu to Kupwara two days ago. The entire family was praying all along the way that their screening test should go well. Till we reached the screening point, they kept convincing themselves that nothing is going to happen, and all will be okay,” said Rouf Ahmad, a driver.
A passenger after taking the screening test exclaimed, “Alhamdulillah, all is fine! My body temperature is fine, and I have been asked to go. I have been praying to pass the screening test since morning, when we left Jammu.”
A medical officer at the screening point said that there was no need to worry or panic about. “It is for the collective good of passengers and their family, with whom they are going to meet at their homes,” he said.
“Going through the screening test is a matter of seconds, and anyone who is showing any kind of symptoms is asked to remain quarantined at their homes,” he added.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police, along with a surveillance team from the health department, have been enquiring from passengers travelling on the Jammu-Srinagar highway about their travel history, and other relevant information with regard to possible COVID-19 infection.