Poor conditions in IOK due to COVID-19

ISLAMABAD, Mar 31 (APP): In the wake of growing COVID-19 cases in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, many migrant workers who are stuck in the region are making desperate appeals to the authorities for food and transportation.

Musharraf Shareef, a worker from the eastern Indian state of Bihar is stuck in Srinagar, the main city of the region, with a group of over seven people who have no food and money, and are fending for themselves, Kashmir Media Service reported.

Shareef is among many other migrant workers stuck in the region after a lockdown was announced by the government in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We earn from our day labor and then eat. When you do not have any means of income due to the lockdown, it is hard to survive in such conditions.

“Before coronavirus, it is the hunger which will kill us,” Shareef told media.

Although the government in the region on Sunday started a helpline to provide help and assistance to these workers, many of these are still unable to make a call as their phones have become defunct.

“We can’t make a call from our phones now, we have no recharge. Only a small amount of money is left, and if we use it for another purpose than food, we will starve and die,” Muskeen Abbas, another worker told media.

The desperation to survive in the present crisis can be gauged when a group of 25 workers last Friday walked 100 kilometers (62.1 miles) overnight from South Kashmir’s Shopian district to Surankote in the Poonch area of Jammu region.

But after reaching there, the district administration put all of them under the required quarantine to avoid possible contraction or transmission of the virus.

An official of the labor department of the region said that they cannot allow any one of these workers to move as they can easily become carriers of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

In Indian Occupied Kashmir, the family members of Tangmarg resident, who passed away on Monday, have said that they are treated like animals at Chest Diseases Hospital, Srinagar.

Riyaz Ahmad Sofi, son of the deceased Tangmarg resident, told media that they were treated like animals at CD Hospital and neglected by the doctors and paramedic staff, Kashmir Media Service reported.

Sofi said on March 28, his father was referred to CD Hospital from the SMHS Hospital. “Without any protective gear, we were asked to go inside the coronavirus ward for setting nebulizer to provide medicines to the patient,” he said and added that they visited the ward 5-6 times without any protective gear.

“He died due to medical negligence as he was not treated well at the hospital,” Sofi said. The family of the deceased has been put in quarantine in Baramulla where their test reports are awaited.

Doctors at Sub District Hospital, Tangmarg said the man had no travel history but was a contact of a person who had recently returned from abroad.

Meanwhile, attendants at CD Hospital complained that there were no facilities at the hospital for the attendants.

Mohammad Altaf, an attendant at CD Hospital, said around 12 positive coronavirus patients were inside the hospital, but attendants were prone to infection as the administration had failed to provide them any facilities.

“Hospital authorities are not informing the families about the status of the patient’s report,” he said. “None of the staff members is visiting the COVID-19 ward at the hospital.”

The pandemic in the region has seen a surge from the last six days taking the tally to 48 cases from the initial 13 cases reported last Wednesday. Over 6,000 patients have been put under observation, while two have died, and the other two have recovered so far.

The coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 177 countries and territories.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide has now surpassed 732,000, while the death toll is more than 34,600, and over 154,600 have recovered, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

Despite the rising number of cases, most who become infected suffer only mild symptoms and recover.



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