RAASHID HASSAN: Shopian: A curious development has taken place in Shopian district where two persons, a husband and wife, tested positive on Saturday evening even though they had been for 14 days in quarantine and had not shown any symptoms for 18 days since they came back from Umrah pilgrimage.
On March 18 the first positive case was reported in Kashmir, of an elderly woman who had returned to Srinagar from Umrah pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. Eleven pilgrims from district Shopian had returned to Kashmir in the same aeroplane that landed in Srinagar on March 16. The Shopian district administration came to know of this through travel agents after four days. The Deputy Commissioner Shopian had told Kashmir Reader then that all the pilgrims had been traced and put in quarantine, while their family members were told to stay at home and had also been put under surveillance.
According to locals, these eleven pilgrims had met people, hugged them, shook their hands, and shared sweets with them in the four days before they were taken for quarantine.
After completing 14 days in quarantine, 10 of the pilgrims were let go home but the eleventh was admitted to hospital. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Shopian Dr Ruqaya told Kashmir Reader that he was asymptomatic but was having urinary problems. “On April 1, the said person was found to be coronavirus positive,” Dr Ruqaya said.
The other 10 pilgrims who were allowed to go home were told to stay at home for a further two days. According to locals, the pilgrims instead of staying home again met people, hugged them, and shook hands with them. After two days when the 11th pilgrim was tested positive, the rest ten were again taken to quarantine facilities which officials called as a precautionary measure.
On April 3 (Friday) a husband and wife among the ten showed symptoms and their samples were taken from Pulwama hospital. The tests came positive on Saturday evening.
Locals and family members of these pilgrims believe that the virus was transmitted in the quarantine facility they were taken to for a second time. Why else would they develop symptoms after 18 days of being under observation, the locals and family members question.