The rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir is facing a surge in spread of the coronavirus even as the administration grappled with an acute shortage of vaccine to inoculate the vulnerable population.
While most of the rural areas are seeing the spread of the virus, in Khag area of Budgam, the positivity rate is as high as 30 per cent, health officials have said. “We have started door-to-door testing, especially of those symptomatic or those having co-morbidities and we are finding that incidences of the infection is very high,” said Dr Ifra Bhat, medical officer of Khag told Outlook.
Doctors say that the rural populace are aware about the disease and its consequences if left untreated. “That is the reason we don’t face any issue during our door-to-door mass testing, and people are willingly coming forward if they feel they have any symptom,” Dr. Ifra adds.
With doctors warning about the rural surge, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has directed deputy commissioners and the health department to ensure a minimum 5-bed Covid care centre, including one-oxygen supported bed in every panchayat of Jammu and Kashmir for patients requiring immediate medical attention. The government has also approved an expenditure of up to Rs 1 lakh per panchayat to make these centres functional immediately.
However, the government has not revealed the reasons behind the slow pace of vaccination. On Wednesday, just 593 people in Kashmir and 7,923 people in Jammu were vaccinated. Officials say that like other states, J&K is also facing a shortage of vaccines. They say they have stock for the 18-45 age group and they have been trying to keep the second doses running. They are also expecting replenishment in a day or two for the above 45 age group.