JAMMU: Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has authorised deputy commissioners to utilise all available staff for Covid-related work like mobilisation for vaccination, testing and surveillance, an official order said on Sunday.
It also stated that ASHA and Anganwadi workers would be trained and empowered to assist in Covid mitigation efforts in the Union territory, while the health department would ensure establishment of telemedicine arrangements in all districts to enable patients to call and consult doctors.
The decision was taken at a meeting held by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha with the top brass of the administration, including civil and police officers, on Saturday here.
“Deputy Commissioners (DCs) will utilise all available staff for Covid-related work such as mobilisation for vaccination, testing, surveillance and Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities, including government staff whose institutions are otherwise closed,” Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam said in the order containing fresh guidelines.
The administration has already announced an extension of the ongoing ‘Corona curfew” till 7 am on May 31.
Subrahmanyam, who is also the chairperson of State Executive Committee, said the curfew will be strict, except for essential emergency services and scheduled marriages up to permissible gathering norms, which shall remain exempted.
“The permitted essential services will be limited to the barest minimum and not too expansive in order to minimise movement. The District Magistrate may issue area specific passes wherever necessary,” the order said.
It said districts would be allowed limited flexibility in adjusting timings of mandis and wholesale markets while following Covid SOPs and not allowing any large crowds or opening for extended hours.
“Shops/establishments can be allowed to open for stock checking, preferably after 8 pm,” the order said, adding that the ceiling on gatherings permissible for marriages continues at 25.
Subrahmanyam said Covid testing should become more targeted and focus on areas with high positivity and on the unvaccinated population.
“All COVID-19 positive patients will be provided Corona kits,” he said.
The order said the DCs would activate all the 20,000 Covid Care Centre (CCC) beds in districts for admitting COVID-19 positive patients with no or mild symptoms and cannot do home isolation.
“Health Department will work out the feasibility of providing some of these CCC beds with oxygen support,” it said.
The official said the DCs will also open 5-10 bed Covid Care Centre in each panchayat, with basic facilities as per the checklist issued by the health department.
“These CCCs will be used for COVID-19 positive persons who cannot be home isolated,” he said.
The order also stated that district-level triage centres would be set up to ensure proper examination of patients and correct referral, reducing unnecessary load on tertiary and referral hospitals, adding that “no patient shall be denied admission to a hospital or treatment facility just because they do not have a COVID-19 positive test result”.
“The General Administration Department has issued orders to allow only 50 per cent attendance in government offices below the level of Under Secretary, except in the Secretariats and HOD offices where staff has already been split by half.
“However, all staff needed for Covid-related duties will continue to attend to Covid-related work assigned to them by DCs,” the order said.
It added that payments under MNREGA, pension and other schemes would be expedited to provide relief to people.
“Any deviation from this order shall attract penal action under the Disaster Management Act, 2005,” it said.