Srinagar: The Coronavirus-inflicted situation continued to deteriorate in Jammu and Kashmir with the Union Territroy reporting 40 deaths and over 3,500 fresh cases on Sunday, a day after authorities launched largest vaccination drive for people aged between 18 and 45 in a bid to contain the fast spreading infection.
A day before (Saturday), the union territory reported 47 virus related deaths – highest single day fatality count so far, and 3,282 positive cases. The J&K is grappling with 1,83486 cases (till Sunday) owing to which all the major hospitals are overwhelming busy with treatment of Covid patients round the clock.
From Monday through Sunday, as many as 223 people died of the virus and nearly 22,000 tested positive across the Union Territory putting doctors and paramedical staff to huge workload in major hospitals.
In wake of an upsurge in cases with each passing day, the authorities on Sunday ordered extension in closure of educational institutions till May 31. Also it ordered complete ‘Corona curfew every weekend in all 20 districts from 7 p.m. each Friday till 7a.m. each Monday.
This is in addition to directive about 50% shops to be allowed to open on a day while traffic shall ply with half of the seating capacity till May 31. Of Sundays’s cases 1,150 were reported from Jammu and 2,421 from Kashmir, officials said. Among the fresh fatalities, 27 were reported from Jammu division and 13 from Kashmir Valley, taking the overall of toll in J&K to 2,370 till Sunday.
Of Sunday’s Srinagar district reported high 1,126 cases followed by Baramulla 268, Anantnag 222, and Budgam 195. There are 32421 active cases—11690 in Jammu and 20731 in Kashmir, according to officials. Also , 1453 more COVID-19 patients have recovered, 605 from Jammu Division and 848 from Kashmir.
The uptick in cases has come even as the curfew remains imposed across Kashmir for past few days. Meanwhile the Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday rolled out the largest vaccination drive for people aged between 18-45 years and on day one over 200 people were vaccinated.
Notably, due to the shortage of the Covishield vaccine, government had earlier decided to start largest vaccination drive around May 20. “We were expecting Covishield vaccine for peole of 18-45 years of age between 15 to 20 May. However late Friday night, we got intimation from Bharat Biotech a Hyderabad based company about Covaxine and during night invoices were prepared,” said Dr. Shahid, State Immunisation Officer.
“And on Saturday afternoon, we received 1.5 lac doses of Covaxine, 75,000 doses for each division and accordingly drive was started.” he added.
On first day (Saturday) 140 persons in Jammu and 64 persons in Kashmir got Covaxin doses, according to Dr. Shahid.
“Those who have taken the Covishield vaccine must take Covishield as second dose. They can take it at any Covishield site,” said Shahid, as per KNO, a local news agency.
People aged between 18-45 wanting to take Covishield have to wait a few days as a large consignment of vaccine will reach Kashmir in next few days, he informed on Saturday. The authorities are going to ramp up the vaccination drive from Sunday and there will be separate sites for Covaxin and Covishield.
On Saturday 24,870 people received Covishield doses in Jammu and Kashmir. The State Immunization Officer said that so far 2,371,985 doses of Covishield vaccine have been administered in Jammu and Kashmir and among them 1,992,448 doses have been given as first dose and 379,537 as second dose.
‘Virus yet to hit its’ peak’
Meanwhile an expert said that the second wave of the virus is yet to reach its’ peak and urged authorities to continue restrictions for some more time even as authorities on Sunday extended the weekend curfew tilll May end.
Flu expert and President Doctors Association Kashmir Dr. Nisar-Ul-Hassan said that to break the transmission of the second wave of Covid-19, the government must continue restrictions for some more time as positive cases and deaths were escalating with each passing day.
He said the second wave is expected to reach its peak stage in next 15 days and it may lead to an increases in cases and even deaths and under such circumustances easing restrictions may prove disastrorous.
Also there would be more admissions to hospitals which our hospitals can’t cope up with, he said. The positivity rate is more than what is available in the data as there were many unreported cases and deaths as many people die at home and several people avoid testing, according to Nisar. “Around 95 percent people in J&K are still susceptible to virus and the government must ramp up the vaccination process amid lockdown. The restrictions can be eased after assessing this situation afterwards,” he added.