Both parents and doctors’ association has criticized the authorities for half-hearted attempts to stop the fresh wave of the pandemic
The Lieutenant Governor-led administration in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has announced a slew of measures to check the spread of a new wave of COVID-19 in the region. However, the parents of students, as well as the Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK), has been critical of the government’s move, with many calling the restriction orders of authorities as half-hearted attempts.
On April 4, Jammu and Kashmir Government announced the closure of all schools from Primary to Class 9th for two weeks and Classes 10th, 11th and 12th for a week from April 5 in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in the Union Territory.
“In view of the rising trend in COVID-19 cases in J&K and the likelihood of young children getting infected and transmitting infections in large numbers, all classes up to and including Class 9 in schools will be closed for two weeks beginning Monday April 5 till April 18 in J&K. Classes 10, 11 and 12 will also be closed for one week in all schools from Monday till April 11 in entire J&K,” announced the office of J&K LG on its official Twitter handle.
It further said that all gatherings for social and customary functions be restricted to 200 only and after following guidelines and COVID-19 SoPs.
The government later extended the closure of schools for Class 9th to 12th for another week in Kashmir valley. Therefore, the closure of schools in Kashmir will continue till April 18, 2021.
On Thursday (April 8), amid the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, the Lieutenant Governor ordered the imposition of “Corona curfew” from 10 PM to 6 AM in the urban areas of eight districts, five of them in Kashmir Valley and three in Jammu division.
“These districts are Jammu, Udhampur, Kathua, Srinagar, Baramulla, Budgam, Anantnag and Kupwara,” tweeted the LG.
The LG further said, “The curfew will be in force in the municipal limits of the Urban Local Bodies of these districts. This will come into effect from Friday, 9 April 2021, 10 PM. Reasi Distt will be under close observation for any possible spikes in cases.”
On the other hand, the government said that the higher education institutes in Jammu and Kashmir will function normally through regular mode.
Kashmiri parents demand schools be opened
Parents of students across Kashmir Valley are demanding that the order which closed educational institutes, citing spread of COVID-19, be revoked.
Parents claimed that a conspiracy was hatched against the Kashmir valley’s education system and that instead of taking some preventive steps, the government closed educational institutes for no valid cause, despite the fact that all educational institutes and students were following proper SOPs and other COVID-19 guidelines.
Meanwhile, parents felt that large public gatherings, such as cultural and other musical programmes, are now held in public parks which invalidate the very purpose of closing down education institutes.
“Instead of attending to their duties, teachers prefer to close schools and run Coaching Centers where they are getting paid handsomely,” a parent from southern Kashmir’s Pulwama district, Abdul Samad alleged.
Shaheeen, a parent from Pulwama, said, “This looks to be half-hearted attempt to stem the spread of new wave of COVID-19. On the one hand, government closes down schools and imposes night curfew while on the other hand, they are busy hosting tourists in public parks and cultural programmes. I cannot understand the logic behind these orders.
The agitated parents said that the government would combat Coronavirus by enacting strict preventative steps, rather than halting education in Kashmir Valley, which has been facing a ‘lockdown’ since 2019.
Night curfew won’t stop spread of COVID-19: DAK
With the imposition of night curfew in Jammu and Kashmir, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday (April 9) said the move won’t stop the spread of COVID-19 infection.
“It beats logic to have restrictions at night when most of the crowds are witnessed during the day,” said DAK President and influenza expert, Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement.
“One wonders how night curfew will help in curbing the spread, when people go about their business during the day hours,” he said, adding, “We have no night life in Kashmir. There is no movement at all during the night hours. Life comes to a standstill in the night. All activities happen during the day and that is the time when virus transmission occurs.”
DAK President further said, “The virus does not take rest during the day and becomes active during the night. It doesn’t work like that. There is no data to support the use of night curfew to reduce the virus transmission. Even Union Health Ministry has written to States like Maharashtra that night curfew has not much impact on virus transmission.”
“Instead of applying night curfew, we need to make people understand that Coronavirus is still here and they need to be cautious. Things like masking mandate, not allowing gatherings and improving ventilation in public places are all effective tools to stem the transmission of the virus,” Dr Nisar said, while adding that the key is to ramp up the vaccine drive and inoculate as many people quickly as possible.
Fresh cases of COVID-19 surging in Jammu & Kashmir
The UT of Jammu and Kashmir reported 1269 fresh cases of COVID-19 for the last 24 hours on Tuesday, the highest daily count this year. 582 cases were confirmed from Jammu Division and 687 from Kashmir Valley.
This huge number took the overall infection tally to 1,40,650.
There were also three deaths reported during the time—two from Jammu division and one from Kashmir Valley. So far, 2037 people have succumbed to the virus—754 in Jammu and 1283 in Kashmir.
There are 8681 active cases—3267 in Jammu division and 5414 in Kashmir Valley.