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Sixty-yr-old tourist from Gujarat dies due of COVID-19 in Srinagar

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A 60-year-old tourist from Gujarat died of COVID-19 in a hospital in the summer capital, Srinagar on Monday.

This is the second tourist, who has died due to the virus in less than a week in the city, causing concern among locals as both visitors had tested negative for COVID-19 at the airport.

Official sources said that a tourist, a resident of Gujarat, was admitted to Chest Disease hospital in Srinagar on April 2 for severe pneumonia and other COVID-19 like symptoms. “The patient tested positive for COVID-19,” they said, adding the tourist died on Monday at the hospital.

Meanwhile, some tourists, who were admitted to CD hospital and Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial Hospital, have alleged that they were not tested at all as they came to the valley via road.

An elderly tourist from Pune in Maharashtra died on March 31 of COVID-19 at Chest Disease hospital, one of the exclusive facilities for the management of COVID-19 patients in the valley.

Reacting to the deaths, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) president and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan said that false negative doesn’t mean that the tourists have contracted it (COVID-19) in Kashmir. “It could also mean that they might be in the initial phase as the virus load is less at that time and the test could show false negative. Viral load is also less in asymptomatic patients and could show false negative,” Dr Hassan told UNI.


The DAK president called for robust genetic testing of COVID-19 positive samples to look for any mutated strain of the virus that could be responsible for the resurgence of cases in the valley. “There was a decline in cases a couple of weeks ago, and all of a sudden with the same behaviour among people a fresh wave of Covid-19 has erupted in the valley which could be because of a mutant,” he said.

Dr Hassan said genetic testing would not only detect the known mutants that might have sneaked into the valley, but also, check whether any mutant has emerged within the region. “Picking up mutants is the key to formulate appropriate and effective health policy that would help prevent and control their spread in the community,” he added.

The DAK president said another reason for the rise in COVID-19 cases is complete disregard for the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). “People are roaming around without masks. Gardens and markets are overcrowded with complete disregard for social distancing,” he added.

The authorities have ordered closure of all schools, including Higher Secondary Schools (HSSs), from Monday in view of rise in COVID-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir. The class work for classes’ upto 9th standard has been suspended for two weeks while classes 10th, 11th and 12th have been closed for one week from Monday, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said on Sunday.

Amid a spike in COVID cases, Jammu and Kashmir government last month classified Srinagar as an orange zone while all other districts have been declared as green zones, whereas Lakhanpur was declared as a containment zone and Jawahar Tunnel area on either side as Red zones. As many as 573 new positive cases of novel Coronavirus, including 451 from Kashmir division and 122 from Jammu division, were reported on Sunday, when three persons died due to COVID-19 in the UT.


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