Kashmir Indepth

Army, paramilitary forces allotted quota for COVID-19 testing in Kashmir hospitals

Suhail Khan

SRINAGAR, August 16(KINS): Army and paramilitary forces have been allotted a quota for COVID-19 testing in various hospitals of Kashmir.

The COVID-19 testing is done at SKIMS Soura, CD Hospital, and SKIMS Medical College Bemina. Over the months, the testing capacity has been enhanced in these hospitals in view of an increase in COVID-19 cases in Kashmir.

Now, authorities have decided that army and paramilitary forces be allotted special quota for COVID-19 testing in hospitals.

In this regard, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir P K Pole has directed HoD Microbiology SKIMS, GMC Srinagar, SKIMS-MCH Bemina, Colonel MED 15 Corps, a copy of which lies with news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS), which reads, “Allocation of quota and institutions/Labs for Covid testing of Army & Paramilitary forces. The Divisional Commissioner directed to follow the specified quota to Army and paramilitary forces.”

An official at SKIMS Soura said they have been collecting samples of everyone for testing. “We also conducted tests of para-military forces. But now as per directives if we conduct 1000 tests, we might have to conduct a particular number of tests of paramilitary  and army personnel,” the official said.

A doctor at GMC Srinagar said, “We do COVID-19 testing of everyone whether he is a civilian or a cop. We don’t understand why there is then a special quota for paramilitary forces or the army. For us everyone is equal and should be equally treated,” the doctor told KINS, wishing not to be quoted by name. 

In June, J&K government exempted defence and paramilitary personnel returning to UT for joining duties from compulsory rapid tests for Covid-19 and subsequent administrative quarantine.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has introduced rapid antigen tests to pick out COVID-19 infections among people entering the union Territory at Lakhanpur in Kathua.

These tests are useful as results come out within half an hour using this method.

Kashmir has witnessed a surge in coronavirus cases. Over 28,000 positive cases have been recorded in Jammu and Kashmir and majority have been reported from the valley.

Out of 785475 test results available, 757454  samples have been tested as negative till August 15, 2020.

Government has issued an advisory that the best way to protect themselves from COVID-19 is by maintaining physical distance of at least 2 meter from others, frequently cleaning hands with an alcohol based hand sanitizer or washing them with soap and water and following good respiratory etiquette and hygiene.

As a measure for social distancing in public places and workplaces wearing a face cover is compulsory.

It says early detection of COVID-19 can prevent the spread of disease so we need to be responsible for the well-being of ourselves and everyone around us.

Advisory has further exhorted upon the people not to step out of home, unless absolutely necessary. “If you have to move out for unavoidable reasons, ensure that you wear a mask and practice social distancing, personal hygiene and frequent handwashing with soap and water.”(KINS)

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