In a major boost to identify and curtail widespread of Coronavirus in Jammu and Kashmir, the testing rate in J&K has been increased to 703 per million, which is second highest in the country, while initially, it was 77.5 per million.
Principal Secretary, Planning, Development & Monitoring and Information, Rohit Kansal said that rapid testing and effective control measures in J&K have helped reduce the rate of growth of coronavirus leading to decrease in doubling rate.
"We were one of the first to have our own testing facilities. Since then we have been continuously ramping up our facilities. From a testing capacity of 50 tests a day, the number of samples tested yesterday was more than 700," Kansal informed and added that the capacity will be shortly braced up to 1000 tests per day in our four ICMR accredited labs.
"We are enhancing testing capacities in these labs as well and shortly adding two more labs. We are maintaining supply chains of essential reagents and are adding more and advanced equipment and manpower" he told the media. He further informed that decentralised sample collection centres have also been set up in the districts.
"Our strategy of aggressive tracing and increased testing will continue," he said and informed that the UT has received the first tranche of 24,000 kits for undertaking the rapid COVID testing This along with the already established procedure will be used for more and more testing.
He said that J&K was among the first in the country to be alert to the problem. "We had probably the most effective and strict protocols even at the cost of some inconvenience. We feel that a bit of convenience can always be sacrificed to achieve a larger goal. This is where we need your support," he added.
He also expressed gratitude for the willing support received from all citizens. "I would request for your continued cooperation. I would also strongly urge all of you to trust the department's judgment whenever some zones are being designated as red zones" he appealed people and said that this is being done strictly as per technical assessment and probability of cases.
"Our self-restraint and discipline must continue. We should go out only if we must. Use of masks has been made mandatory for everyone going out. 1.20 crore masks are being made in J&K. Every member of a priority or AAY household will get one free of cost. Others will get it at a subsidy. Please use it", he said and appealed the people to follow all other advisories issued from time to time adding that there was no room for complacency.
For ensuring social distancing, he said that the religious leaders and others have been making appeals to avoid all religious gatherings and people must heed them as the gatherings literally serve as oxygen for the spread of the virus. They are prohibited and are to be avoided at all costs, he said.