Published On: Sun, May 31st, 2020

At least 5 IAS officers under quarantine after senior IAS officer tests COVID-19 positive in J-K

Jammu: More than a dozen top officials of Jammu and Kashmir including at least five belonging to IAS cadre went into quarantine on Sunday after a senior bureaucrat tested positive for COVID-19, highly placed sources said. A secretary-rank IAS officer tested positive here and was shifted to a hospital for treatment.

A priest applies vermilion paste on the forehead of a devotee at Kheer Bhawani temple amid the coronavirus pandemic in Jammu, on Saturday.(AP Photo)

He had participated in a high-level official meeting here on Saturday.

Immediately after his test report was available, tracing of all the people he had come in contact with in recent days began and about a dozen bureaucrats were identified. They were all kept under necessary home quarantine and a test for COVID-19 would be done after two to three days, the officials said.

Besides the senior bureaucracy, several Kashmir Administrative Service officers and as many as 10 doctors were also put under compulsory quarantine.

The officer, who is posted as principal secretary to the government, was tested for COVID-19 at Jammu airport on his return from Srinagar and his report came positive on Saturday night, officials said.

He became the first Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer to test positive for COVID-19 in Jammu and Kashmir.

Last week, the wife and son of an advisor to the Lt Governor tested positive for the disease after they came back from Delhi. The advisor subsequently went into quarantine though his test came negative.

The IAS officer, who was also assisting the health and medical education department in COVID-19 management in addition to his own duties, had attended a series of meetings in Srinagar and later a high-level meeting on his return to Jammu, which among others was also attended by several senior doctors.

Jammu and Kashmir has recorded a total of 2,446 coronavirus positive cases including 1,943 in the valley and 503 in Jammu region till Sunday evening.

While 28 patients — 25 in Kashmir and three in Jammu – died of the infection, 927 others have been cured and subsequently discharged from the hospital.

BJP spokesperson Brig (Retd) Anil Gupta said the news of a senior IAS officer testing COVID-19 positive on return from Srinagar is not only demoralising for the others but also raises a finger of doubt on the administration as far as adherence by senior officers to SOPs and guidelines issued by it is concerned.

“While the administration is sparing no effort to effectively manage the deadly pandemic in the Union Territory, there is growing concern among the public about certain arbitrary decisions taken by the officials and non-adherence to the official guidelines by them,” Gupta said in a statement here.

PTI

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