Srinagar: People quarantined in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Friday told Kashmir Reader that conditions inside the government facility are so unsanitary that they are at high risk of contracting coronavirus infection.
There is only one washroom for more than 40 people and beds are also crammed together in small rooms, they said.
“At least 40 people share a single washroom, which is also dirty,” said Waseem Majid, a research scholar from Hajin. “Beds are also crammed together and everyone has to share towel and bucket. There are no soaps or hand sanitisers either,” he added.
Majid has been kept in this government-designated quarantine facility at Government Degree College, Sumbal, along with 40 others who had come in contact with four Covid-19 positive patients from Bandipora.
“Most of us met them in a local masjid. We shook hands also, which is why we thought to inform the authorities to save others from infection,” Waseem said.
Following the spike in novel coronavirus cases, the government has decided to send anyone it suspects of having the virus, particularly travellers and contacts of Covid-19 patients, into mandatory 14-day quarantine.
However, people in these official quarantine centres complain that the conditions are dismal.
“Beds are put without any separation. Bathrooms are in bad shape with no hot water,” said another inmate.
“Since we have to share everything, we cannot avoid cross-infection,” he said
Nearly 41 persons were taken to the facility after they reported to the health authorities that they met a few people from Tableegi Jamaat who later tested positive for the virus.
On arrival at the quarantine facility, they were shocked to find dirty rooms and filthy toilets.
“Seeing the situation here, I strongly believe that home quarantine was best for us. At least there was proper social distancing,” said a woman, who along with her three kids and husband, is kept in a separate room.
“Such unsanitary conditions in quarantine facilities are totally unacceptable,” she said. “I am staying here along with my three kids including an infant. The administration failed to give feed for him also,” she added.
Despite police security, some people have been fleeing quarantine facilities in J&K and unhygienic isolation units are discouraging people from reporting their symptoms, said Waseem.
“This seems we are paying the price for being honest,” he said.
District Magistrate Bandipora Shahbaz Mirza assured that the facility will be upgraded and all complaints of the inmates will be resolved.
“We had to make this facility ready on emergency basis, which is why there may be some lacunae. But, we will ensure all necessary amenities to them,” Mirza said.