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COVID-19: Army’s Northern Command has conducted over 34,000 tests in JK

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Jammu: To strengthen the efforts of the civil administration in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army’s Northern Command has conducted 34,396 tests for the civilian population till date, with a positivity rate of 2.55 per cent, a defence spokesperson said on Wednesday.
A total of 4,636 patients were successfully treated, while 22 deaths were reported in Army hospitals since the outbreak of the disease, the spokesman said, adding that the case fatality rate stood at of 0.28 per cent.
He said COVID-positive serving personnel, veterans, their dependents and civilians are being managed in various services hospitals and ad hoc isolation facilities established in the Northern Command area of responsibility with a capacity of 818 and 2,182 beds respectively.
The Army has implemented a host of measures and initiatives to combat the spread of COVID-19 across Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
“Northern Command extended support to civil administration by conducting RT PCR tests for civil patients referred by civil authority. Civil health administration of J&K is constantly in contact through their respective nodal officers in both Srinagar and Jammu since the inception of the COVID-19 outbreak,” the spokesman said.
He said COVID care facilities have been created and kept in a state of readiness at Old Airfield, Srinagar, and APS, Damana, in Jammu for use as required by the civil authority.
“Facility at Old Airfield, Srinagar, is a 250-bedded state-of-the-art AIF being fully utilised by the J&K government. The facility at APS, Damana, has a capacity of 100 beds. A PCR machine was also provided by the civil authority for testing at teh Command Hospital (Northern Command),” the spokesman said.
In addition, he said, an Automated RNA Extractor has been provided by the civil authority to the Command Hospital (Northern Command).
The official said with the commencement of train service and civil aviation flights, a large number of troops and families of Army personnel have started reporting to Jammu, Chandigarh and Srinagar directly from their leave stations without being quarantined.
“Personnel were also moving into the Northern Command theatre by road under their own arrangement. In view of the high risk posed by such a person, and also in synchronisation with the government of J&K testing policy prevailing then, 100 per cent of COVID-19 testing with pooled samples was started,” the spokesman said.
He said a wide range of activities were simultaneously carried out to initially contain the rapid spread of the virus.
Providing assistance to stranded labourers and students, awareness campaigns, displaying of banners and charts, lectures, medical and veterinary camps, door-to-door visit and distribution of COVID-19 kits formed part of this aggressive initiative undertaken by the Army, he said.
Based on calls for assistance and through their own troops conducting ‘Khairiyat Patrols’ throughout J&K, the spokesman said, the Army has been able to reach out to the population in every part of the Union Territory.
“The most severely affected due to the precautionary lockdown in places across the country have been the migrant labourers, daily wage workers, the underprivileged and the needy. Specific focus has been given to address the requirements of this section of the population in particular,” he said.
The spokesman said the people were provided doorstep assistance in terms of rations, surgical masks, sanitizers and other relief material as needed. “At many places, food has also been distributed to those in need.”
On multiple occasions, based on the requirement projected by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), the Army, in close coordination with the Air Force, arranged for mechanised boom and other large capacity sprayers and sterilisation chemicals to be airlifted from different states to Srinagar.
“This enabled the civil administration to effectively combat the threat of the pandemic and ensured that they are empowered to protect the Awaam of Kashmir,” the spokesman said.
In order to help students cope with the closing of schools due to the precautionary measures, the Army, with support from iDream Education and Extra Marks Education India, has ensured that all students across the 45 Army Goodwill Schools in the Union Territory have access to online study material and content, he said.
“This will ensure that their studies do not suffer and they are able to gainfully utilise their time at home during the lockdown,” the spokesman added. (PTI)

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