As the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir recorded all-time single-day highest COVID positive cases on Thursday, authorities ordered complete restriction on non-essential travel from 2 pm on Friday to 6 a.m. Monday till further orders.

Earlier, the government had announced weekend restrictions on Saturday and Sunday but now the restrictions will be started from Friday.

"That there shall be a complete restriction on non-essential movement in the entire UT of J&K from every Friday 2.00 pm to Monday 6.00 am, henceforth," reads an order issued here by the Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, who is chairman State Executive Committee.

However, it is mentioned in the order that pregnant women employees will be exempted from physical attendance. They shall be allowed to work from home. "These directions shall be applicable till further orders.", reads the order.

Chief Secretary of J&K Dr Arun Kumar Mehta.
Chief Secretary of J&K Dr Arun Kumar Mehta chairing a meeting to review COVID situation in UTDIPR J&K

Task Force reviews emerging situation in J&K

According to the government order, a meeting of the task force was held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary J&K, who is also chairman of the State Executive Committee in which a decision was taken to impose restrictions since Friday.

ACS (Finance), ACS (Health and Medical Education), Principal Secretary to the Government PWD (R&B) & other Senior Health functionaries attended the meeting held today to discuss an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the entire J&K and the presence of a variant of concern (Omicron).

The State Executive Committee, in the exercise of the powers conferred upon it under Section 24 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 ordered restrictions from Friday.

J&K witnessing a rise in cases

It was informed in the meetings that like other parts of the country, Jammu and Kashmir is also witnessing a rise in COVID cases, which has necessitated strict observance of CAB, COVID SOPs, and protocols by the general public, especially in public places.

Restriction order

The meeting was apprised that although the Omicron variant is maintaining a high transmission, raising the weekly positivity rate from 0.5% to 5.4% over the previous fortnight; the oxygen bed occupancy and ICU bed occupancy are currently at a comfortable level of 7.7% and 14.0%, respectively.

It was given out that the healthcare facilities have been ramped up and are in a state of readiness to cater to any eventualities.

In comparison to the second (Delta) 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. It was informed that although the number of reported daily cases has crossed the peak of the second wave, the comparative peak positivity rate and bed occupancy rate during the current wave continue to remain low at 7.0% and 6.2% viz-a-viz second wave's 10.9% and 60.8% respectively. Jammu and Kashmir is also maintaining a lower positivity rate in comparison to the national average of about 17%.

Taking note of the increased number of COVID cases, the Chief Secretary impressed upon all departments to permit a suitable percentage of the workforce including all pregnant employees to work from home.

Corona testing in Ladakh

All-time high 5992 new cases reported from J&K

The J&K Kashmir today reported 5992 new positive cases of Coronavirus-1920 from the Jammu division and 4072 from Kashmir Valley, thus taking the total number of positive cases in Jammu and Kashmir to 378661.

Today, numbers are all-time single-day highest cases in J&K since the outbreak of the pandemic. Seven COVID deaths have been reported, five from Jammu and two from Kashmir Division during the last 24 hours.

Moreover, 1177 more COVID-19 patients have recovered and been discharged from various hospitals including 716 from the Jammu division and 461 from Kashmir Valley.

According to the official handout, out of 378661 positive cases, 31044 are active positive (10535 in Jammu division and 20508 in Kashmir Valley), 343031 have recovered.