No drop in test levels: SEC to DC
JAMMU, January 30: The government today limited weekend restrictions to Saturday and Sunday and lifted restrictions on non-essential travel on Friday, despite asking the Department of Health and medical education to ensure that at least 15 contacts of COVID-positive people are traced in order to stop transmission within the community.
The latest guidelines were issued today by the Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, in his capacity as Chairman of the State Executive Committee (SEC).
“There will be a complete restriction of non-essential movements throughout the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir from Friday 9 p.m. to Monday 6 a.m.,” reads the order issued tonight.
Currently, restrictions on non-essential travel started from 2 p.m. on Friday and lasted until 6 a.m. on Monday. Now they will start from 9 p.m. on Friday, which means there will be no sidewalks on Friday.
Weekend restrictions will now be limited to Saturday and Sunday.
It can be mentioned here that the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry had refused to close shops on Friday on the grounds that traders were suffering heavy losses due to the weekend lockdown. However, the House had agreed to keep shops and commercial establishments closed on Saturday and Sunday on the condition that the administration reconsider the lockdown decision.
Reacting to the latest order, Speaker of the House Arun Gupta told the Excelsior that he would meet tomorrow with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta and others senior administration officials and would call for the restrictions to be lifted on Saturday.
“No restrictions on Friday is a good decision, but also on Saturday there should be no restrictions. The administration may order a strict lockdown on Sunday,” Gupta said, adding that traders suffered heavy losses due to the lockdown.
He said states with more COVID cases have lifted all restrictions and there is no pleasure in continued lockdown in Jammu while cases are decreasing. The government should compensate traders, he added.
The government order says the night curfew will remain in effect in all districts from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. with complete restriction of non-essential movement.
The government has ordered all deputy commissioners to step up testing and ensure full utilization of available RT-PCR and RAT capabilities.
There will be no drop in testing levels, he said.
He added that directors of health and medical education will ensure that older people and those with co-morbidities are encouraged to get tested.
“The Ministry of Health must ensure that at least 15 contacts of people who are COVID-19 positive are traced in order to stop transmission within the community,” the order states.
The SEC reiterated that all offices will regulate employee attendance to ensure social distancing norms are maintained while pregnant women will be exempt from physical attendance and allowed to work from home.
Similarly, employees with disabilities should also have the option of working from home.