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With strict measures in place, two more patients recover from COVID-19 in Ladakh
4/8/2020 10:40:36 PM

Early Times Report

Leh, Apr 8: With strict containment measures in place to lock down "red zones" with total restriction of people''s movement, the Union Territory of Ladakh has done well to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic as two more persons have recovered from the disease.
With this, the number of recovered persons in one of the most sparsely populated regions in the country goes up to 11, officials said on Wednesday.
Carved out of Jammu and Kashmir after the Centre revoked the special status of the erstwhile state in August last year, the Union Territory comprises two districts - Leh and Kargil - with a combined population of around 2.9 lakh, according to Census 2011.
Ladakh reported the first case of coronavirus on March 6 and the count increased to 13 by March 21. Some good news came on March 23 when two of the patients were discharged after their fresh samples tested negative twice as per the set protocol, the officials said.
Later, the number of positive cases went up to 14 when another person was tested positive on April 2. Two days later, six more patients were declared recovered.
On March 26, a patient had recovered while another person was tested negative on Tuesday was discharged from hospital, the officials said.
At present, only three patients from Kargil are still under treatment in the twin districts of the UT, the officials said, adding that all the 11 patients who recovered were from Leh.
The government machinery screened 32,108 people for the disease since January 31 this year.
Those who were screened included 160 pilgrims who had returned from Iran and 532 other foreign returnees, the officials said.
Several villages, that are home to people who returned from Iran, were completely put under lockdown as deployment of police force restricted their movement for over a month that helped containing the spread of the virus, they said.
As many as 2,808 people were placed under quarantine with 1,989 of them having completed the 14-day period. The number of people under surveillance was 1,702 with 287 of them having been released after completing the 28-day period of quarantine and surveillance.
A majority of the people were either quarantined or put under surveillance or placed under both at their homes, while only 198 were put under quarantine in different health facilities.
A total of 17 symptomatic people – 11 from Leh and six from Kargil - were admitted in isolation wards, the officials said.
However, the officials said over 100 sample reports are still awaited from Delhi. These samples were taken recently from those who had come in contact with the 14th positive patient, who hails from Kargil.
The Ladakh administration is presently conducting tests outside the Union Territory but is in the process of conducting the tests locally.
“The reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) laboratory will be established at Choglamsar in a month''s time and rapid test kits are also ordered to meet test requirements in future,” Commissioner Secretary (Health) Rigzin Samphel said.
The administration has taken necessary steps in view of the opening of the 434-km Srinagar-Leh National highway, which is considered to be the lifeline of Ladakh region, after remaining closed for winter owing to heavy snowfall along Zojila pass.
“The Zojila will be opened in a few days time for bringing in basic commodities such as K-oil, petrol and LPG gas. This exercise will be carried out in a controlled manner in accordance with the containment policy," Samphel added.
He pointed out that this will help in making plans for opening up Zojila for vehicular traffic movement in future.
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