SRINAGAR: Since three new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Kashmir valley on Tuesday, people have started reporting the arrival of persons who have returned from abroad or from other states of the country.
The officials monitoring the COVID-19 control room said that in Srinagar district alone, they have been receiving at least 200-300 calls from people regularly to reveal the identities or other specific information related to persons who have concealed their travel history.
The number of callers has risen to a high number after three more cases of COVID-19 were reported in Kashmir valley on Tuesday, and also after the Jammu and Kashmir administration appealed to the general public to report persons with travel history by making a call on specific numbers.
The Health and Medical Education Department, J&K, has set up 24-hour COVID-19 helpline numbers for both Kashmir as well as Jammu divisions for people to report COVID-19 related cases and issues.
“It looks like the people have taken the appeal seriously. They are worried about the spread of the virus, after learning of three cases in a day on Tuesday. Since Tuesday, we have received at least 500 calls till now,” said an official dealing with the monitoring of COVID-19 helpline numbers at Srinagar.
“We are receiving a flood of calls now. This was not the case before,” he added.
Several people have been also taking to their social media handles, especially Facebook, by sharing the location or even the name of persons who have reached homes either unscreened or have not followed mandatory preventive guidelines for everyone arriving from outside countries and states.
“Over the past few days, social media sites in Kashmir are filled with information and reports from many people who are making public details of persons in their localities. Such voluntarily reports are shared widely on such platforms,” said a health department employee posted at District Hospital Anantnag.
There have been several reports from south and north Kashmir districts that many people who have reached back to their homes are concealing their travel history.
Wahid Aslam Dar, in charge of the COVID-19 Control Room Srinagar, said, “We are receiving huge number of calls since Tuesday. Before that, we used to receive a good number of calls from people reporting about arrivals, but not so many. The calls have increased drastically in the last two days. We are not even able to get off the phone for a minute.”
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary had expressed concern in a tweet on Wednesday over the huge number of messages received by the district administration about people concealing their travel history, apparently to escape mandatory quarantine. Due to this, he said, he feared that COVID-19 cases in the valley may be more than reported.