The Jammu and Kashmir administration on August 29 relaxed certain COVID-19 induced curbs and granted permission to higher educational institutions to resume offline classes if staff members and students are fully vaccinated. But amid the third Coronavirus threat, the officials extended the closure of schools and coaching centres till further notice. The administration additionally also decided to dispense with the mandatory testing for COVID-19 at the entry point to the Union Territory at Lakhanpur for those who received both dosages of vaccine and allow entry of vaccinated people into public parks.
According to PTI, the recent decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary AK Mehta. The administration decided to keep most of the containment guidelines, including the night curfew. The district magistrates were also directed to strictly ensure that there is full compliance with COVID-appropriate behaviour. They were also told to deal with defaulters firmly under relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code.
AK Mehta, who is also the chairperson of the State Executive Committee (SEC), said that the latest order was issued after a detailed review of the COVID-19 situation with a focus on total weekly new cases (per million), total positivity rate, bed occupancy, case fatality rate, and vaccination coverage of the targeted population. He added that now all schools and coaching centres would continue to remain closed for onsite or in-person teaching till further notice.
“However, the higher educational institutions can be permitted to commence with limited in-person teaching subject to 100 per cent vaccination of staff and students and specific permission of concerned deputy commissioners," the order said.
It added that such institutions can organise special vaccination camps in consultation with the district administration. Mehta said that other educational institutions can allow the attendance of vaccinated staff for administrative purposes. The maximum number of people permitted to attend any indoor or outdoor gathering would be strictly restricted to 25, read the order. It added that there would be no weekend curfew in any district but the night curfew would continue to remain in force in all districts from 8 pm to 7 am till further orders.
"At the entry point to UT of J&K at Lakhanpur, mandatory testing for COVID can be dispensed with for those who have received both doses of vaccine provided a reliable and verifiable system can be put in place in consultation with the medical team," Mehta said.
He added that entry into public parks can be permitted to vaccinated people with due verification. Moreover, directing for “no drop” in COVID-19 testing levels, Mehta said that the Deputy Commissioners would focus on the positivity rates of the medical blocks under their jurisdictions. The order said that the Deputy Commissioners would keep active track of the positivity rates in blocks and consider implementing stricter control measures in closed clustered spaces in case the weekly positivity rate goes beyond four per cent in these blocks.