Amid lockdown Coronavirus had spared Watergam town in north Kashmir's Baramulla was district till mid May. But, the mild relief that residents of the town availed short-lived after two persons--both bakers by profession, who operated their business in the town, were tested positive of COVID-19 on 17 May.
The residents began to worry soon after authorities took into administrative quarantine 35 primary contacts--comprising their family, some relatives and workers--of the two positive patients. Of 35 persons--26 were under quarantine at Trauma Centre Watergam and 13 others at quarantine facility in Baramulla.
After 14 days the town is staring at the spread of Coronavirus, the disease which had killed 25 patients in Kashmir so far, as 14 primary contacts of the two bakers were tested COVID-19 positive on Saturday. The COVID positive cases, all asymptomatic, were moved from quarantine and put under isolation and medical observation. On Saturday 177 fresh COVID positive cases were recorded in Kashmir.
Few days ago, one of the workers of one of the bakers was tested COVID-19 positive. The worker, a resident of Kachloo village of Handwara tehsil, was under quarantine in Langate area of Handwara. Later, his 10 primary contacts, mostly family members, were tested positive of the virus.
According to reports the two bakers ran their business amid lockdown and an uncounted people from various adjacent villages bought bakery from their shops. The shops were closed down by authorities later.
Watergam, which has more than 7000 population is spread over about 1000 houses, and it is located on Baramulla-Kupwara highway.
The district magistrate Baramulla has already declared Watergam and Gund Karimkhan areas as "red zones" while Marazigund. The inward and outward movement of people has been barred, as per the order.
While Behrampora, Gundmulraj and Dangiwacha villages have been declared as "buffer zones" and people of these areas have been asked to restrict their movement and disallow their relatives from visiting their houses to stop spread of Coronavirus.
The area could emerge as a new COVID-19 hotspot as authorities are suspecting local transmission of the disease while they would begin contact tracing of the COVID positive cases in the area.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Baramulla, G.N Itoo said that a complete screening would be conducted in the area, which is already underway and will be followed by sampling.
"This will reveal who is COVID positive and negative. It will be a complete screening," DC Baramulla told Rising Kashmir.
He said the sampling technique involves two methods; one cent percent sampling of primary contacts and second involves sampling of most vulnerable groups like persons above 60 age, pregnant ladies and co-morbidity groups--those people who are suffering from other ailments.
"This process will be a first phase. After that if more cases (positive) come out, then we will go for random sampling of some persons," Itoo said.
DC Baramulla said a bakery worker is believed to be a source of COVID-19 since 10 members of his family were test positive of COVID.
"Now, our next step will be to check whether or not there is a community transmission of the virus," he said adding "we will treat the area as hotspot."
DC Baramulla said there is no need to worry as the Coronavirus infected persons have been identified on time. "We are starting contact tracing and their samples will be taken," he said.