Farooq Abdullah, who was released from his detention last week, released an amount of Rs. 1 crore to combat the outbreak of COVID-19 in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday after the first case was reported on March 19. Strict restrictions on movement and assembly of people continued for the third consecutive day on Saturday in Kashmir to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Out of the Rs. 1 crore donated by the National Conference (NC) chief and Srinagar MP Rs 50 lakh has been earmarked for SKIMS Srinagar and Rs 25 lakh each for Budgam and Ganderbal districts, the party announced through twitter.
Party president and MP Srinagar Dr Farooq Abdullah today released an amount of Rs 1 Cr to combat #COVID19 threat in J&K from his MPLAD. Out of this, Rs 50 lakh has been earmarked for SKIMS Srinagar and Rs 25 lakh each for Budgam and Ganderbal districts. pic.twitter.com/faUhZuJfYZ— JKNC (@JKNC_) March 21, 2020
Only government and essential services employees with valid identity cards, media persons, and people with health emergency were allowed to move on streets in Kashmir. Police asked people to stay indoors and maintain social distancing through public address systems. Most markets across the valley were shut, public transport was off roads and train services were suspended. Educational institutes and public places such as gymnasiums, parks, clubs, and restaurants have been shut down. The measures have been taken after a 67-year-old woman from Khanyar area of Srinagar, who returned to the city on March 16 from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah, tested positive for COVID-19.
On Thursday, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir wrote to PM to direct the J&K administration to restore 4G internet services in the Valley. He pointed out that with the restrictions imposed in the Valley, post abrogation of Article 370, students of the Union Territory were already finding it difficult to study. With the additional restrictions imposed in the Valley to fight Coronavirus (COVID-19), he said it was impossible for students and people to work/study from home without fast internet services. The valley has reported four cases - one positive.
The Union territory administration has already declared COVID-19 an epidemic, imposing section 144 in certain areas. The administration has also barred all foreign visitors from visiting the Valley and stopped all pilgrimages to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. Shutting down all schools, educational institutes, restaurants, hotels, gyms, swimming pools till March 31, the administration has also all foreign tourists or visitors arriving in J&K will be quarantined, including all travellers coming from Union Territory of Ladakh.
Since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, the mobile internet speed in Jammu and Kashmir was increased on Friday in view of the growing demand for restoration of 4G services in the wake of coronavirus scare, officials said. On February 25, the 2G mobile internet services were extended in the newly turned union territory citing 'security concerns.' Earlier on Saturday, Hurriyat Conference's Mirwaiz Umar Farooq demanded the restoration of 4G internet in Kashmir in the wake of the outbreak.
While former chief minister Farooq Abdullah was released from detention on March 13, other mainstream leaders including former CMs -Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and others including Shah Faesel, Naeem Akhtar, Ali Mohammad Sagar, and Sarah Madni have been detained under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) by the Jammu-Kashmir administration for almost eight months now.