Anantnag: People here in Nowgam village, which has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases this week, accuse the district administration of negligence in dealing with the situation.
The village, located along the Anantnag-Shangus road, has reported 15 cases so far – only one less than the total tally of 16 in Anantnag district – since the first positive case was detected on April 15.
The village has been declared a red zone by the district administration and hundreds of people, all contacts of positive patients, have been advised home quarantine.
The locals, however, are upset with the handling of the situation by the district administration. On Thursday evening, 6 persons from the village were declared to be Covid-19 positive but they were ferried to hospital only at 11:00 AM the next morning.
“A couple of them were called on their phone and asked to walk a certain distance by the ambulance driver, who refused to enter a red zone,” said Adil Gul, a resident of Nowgam. “If this is not negligence, what is?” he asked.
Kashmir Reader talked to Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Anantnag Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, who said that the positive cases were shifted to hospital on Thursday evening itself. “I don’t think any such thing has happened, but I will look into it, definitely,” the CMO said.
Other residents that Kashmir Reader talked to said that the administration has been lax also in tracking down and quarantining the contacts, even those who came forward voluntarily for quarantine.
“One of the residents here who had come in contact with a certain positive patient was asked to stay home and not quarantined at any facility, putting his family and other people at risk. How can an uneducated man with no knowledge of the pandemic follow a home quarantine routine?” asked Nisar Ahmad Bhat, a Nowgam resident.
The CMO maintained that the whole village cannot be picked up for quarantine, so most people have to be home quarantined. “They will be shifted only after they test positive or develop symptoms,” Dr Ahmad said.
Locals also allege that the lockdown has been enforced only along the Nowgam-Shangus road and not in the interiors of the village.
“I asked certain people about it and they said they did not have the manpower to enforce a lockdown on this large an area,” Bhat said.
Besides, the residents say, the area has not been fumigated or sanitised even once since it was declared a red zone.
Kashmir Reader talked to Syed Yasir, Assistant Commissioner Revenue (ACR) for Anantnag district, who maintained that all was well and he was himself in the red zone along with local police officials.
“We got the details of the patients at about 9:00 PM last night and it was not advisable to shift them during the night. It is a red zone anyway and people are not allowed to move out of their house,” Yasir said.
He said that he went himself in the interiors of the village and the lockdown is being implemented there in letter and spirit.
“I have seen a few people roaming around and they will be booked to set an example,” Yasir said, adding that fumigation and sanitisation was also going on properly.
He accused the people of creating an issue out of nothing.