Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir administration announced 64-hour-long restrictions on weekends on non-essential movement to arrest the worrying spike in coronavirus cases.
Announcing the decision of the State Executive Committee (SEC), which met under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, the officials said there will be a complete halt on non-essential movement in the union territory every Friday from 2 pm to Monday 6 am.
An order issued by the chief secretary said pregnant women employees will be exempted from physical attendance and shall be allowed to work from home on workdays.
As per an earlier order, the night curfew and online mode of teaching in schools and colleges will continue, it added.
“There shall be a complete restriction on non-essential movement during weekends in the entire Jammu and Kashmir,” Mehta said.
Surge in cases
Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday recorded 5,992 fresh coronavirus cases, its biggest single-day spike in infections so far, pushing the tally to 3,78,661, while seven deaths due to the disease were reported in the past 24 hours.
The previous highest one-day jump in infections was recorded on Wednesday when 5,818 fresh cases were registered in the Union Territory.
During the second wave of the pandemic, Jammu and Kashmir had on May 7 last year detected 5,443 new cases.
Out of the fresh cases recorded on Thursday, 1,920 were from the Jammu division and 4,072 from the Kashmir division, the officials said.
They said Srinagar district recorded a maximum of 1,306 new cases, followed by Jammu district which registered 1,217 such infections.
There are 31,044 active cases in the Union Territory, while the count of recoveries stands at 3,43,031, the officials said.
The new fatalities raised the death toll from the pandemic to 4,586 in Jammu and Kashmir.
Guidelines for employees
Taking cognisance of the rising COVID-19 cases in the union territory, Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta on Thursday impressed upon all departments to permit a suitable percentage of the workforce to work from home.
Mehta gave this direction during a meeting of the COVID task force to review the rising coronavirus cases in Jammu and Kashmir. He directed the strict implementation of the CAB and set protocols to break the chain of transmission.
The chief secretary appealed to the public to remain indoors and avoid visiting crowded places, besides urging them to voluntarily declare micro-containment zones in the areas that are seeing a large number of positive cases.
He said symptomatic people can avail of medical assistance and testing information by dialling the COVID emergency helpline number 104.
The meeting was apprised that although the Omicron variant is maintaining a high transmission rate — raising the weekly positivity rate from 0.5 per cent to 5.4 per cent over the previous fortnight — the oxygen bed occupancy and ICU bed occupancy are at a comfortable level of 7.7 per cent and 14.0 per cent, respectively.
Healthcare facilities have been ramped up and are in a state of readiness to cater to any eventualities, the officials said.
In comparison to the second wave, Jammu and Kashmir has doubled its testing capacity to over 80,000 daily tests, which is also being reflected in the higher number of daily reported cases, they said.
Although the number of daily reported cases has crossed the number recorded during the peak of the second wave, the comparative peak positivity rate and bed occupancy rate currently remains low at 7 per cent and 6.2 per cent viz-a-viz the second wave’s 10.9 per cent and 60.8 per cent respectively, they said.
Jammu and Kashmir is also having a lower positivity rate compared to the national average of about 17 per cent.