COVID-19 cases spike in Ladakh, Sikkim due to movement of people

While Ladakh had reported only 131 coronavirus cases until June 11, the number rose to 437 in the Union Territory in just two days

Ladakh, Sikkim, coronavirus, COVID-19, Lockdown, movement of people
While five patients in Sikkim have recovered from the highly contagious disease, the total tally of coronavirus cases still stands at 58 as of Saturday. Photo: PTI

Ladakh recorded the highest single-day spike of 198 COVID-19 cases on Saturday (June 13), taking the total tally of cases in the Union territory to 437.

On Friday, officials said that 124 people tested positive for the disease since Wednesday evening, following which the total number of cases in the region rose to 239.

Even as district magistrate Baseer-ul-Haq Choudhary ordered a strict lockdown to be reimposed from June 30 in Kargil which has the most active cases, before Friday the Union Territory had reported only 131 cases from the past three months.

Ladakh has so far reported one death while 68 people have been cured of the disease and discharged from the hospitals. “The number of active cases in the region stands at 368, including 300 in Kargil. Condition of all of them is stable,” an official said.

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Union Territory administration declared both Kargil and Leh districts as “red zones” in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Related news: 36 new COVID-19 cases in Sikkim, total rises to 63

While five patients in Sikkim have recovered from the highly contagious disease, the total tally of coronavirus cases still stands at 58 as of Saturday.

The sudden spike in cases in the Himalayan region at a time when the state had reported only 13 cases until Thursday, while crossing the 50-mark in the next two days.

Sikkim was the last state in India to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The reasons being cited for the sudden rise in cases in the two regions is movement of people.

Several states including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Sikkim have witnessed a rise in numbers due to many returnees testing positive for the infection.

In Sikkim, all the new cases are amongst people returning from other states, according to state health secretary Pempa Bhutia and similar is the case in Ladakh.

Interactive: Know the coronavirus stats here

Considering the limited medical infrastructure of the two Himalayan regions, the sudden rise in cases would strain the healthcare system.

According to health department officials, Ladakh has one dedicated coronavirus hospital in each of its two red zone districts of Kargil and Leh, which together have 87 isolation beds for positive patients, and 103 for symptomatic contacts.

Union Territory administration has also identified about 1,669 beds have been identified in hospitals and hotels to quarantine patients.

To control the spread of the virus, Sikkim has decided to keep its borders sealed till August as it was expecting more inflow of migrants.

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