A doctor at the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus in Kashmir died Sunday morning after contracting the virus that has infected over 21.5 lakh people across the country, so far, and killed more than 43,000.
Dr Mohammad Ashraf Mir, who health authorities said had been treating COVID-19 patients for the past four months, was admitted to the Shere Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in Srinagar after testing positive for the virus. He died this morning and his death has been widely mourned in Kashmir.
The Valley is seeing a spike in infections with 463 new Covid cases in the past 24 hours, according to data this morning. Of these, 382 are from Kashmir and the rest from Jammu.
Overall more than 24,000 cases have been reported, including 470 deaths linked to the virus. The number of active cases in the territory is around 7,000.
The administration has introduced RATs (rapid antigen tests) to detect the virus among people entering the region via Lakhanpur in Kathua.
"We were using RT-PCR method earlier but recently the administration introduced rapid antigen test. We get the results in about half an hour using this method," Ashok Choudhary, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), told news agency ANI on Saturday.
Although RATs produce quicker results, they are widely seen as less accurate than the RT-PCR method, which takes a longer time to produce a result.
Across the country nearly 200 doctors have died after contracting the virus, the IMA (Indian Medical Association) was quoted as saying by news agency PTI this week. A majority of whom were general practitioners (GPs).
"As per the latest data collected by the IMA, our nation has lost 196 doctors, out of which 170 of them are above the age of 50 years, with general practitioners attributing to around 40 per cent of it," the IMA said in its statement.
The IMA pointed out that a significant percent of the population consulted GPs on common Covid symptoms - fever and breathing difficulties - appearing. Therefore, GPs are the first point of contact, as well as care.
The medical body has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to ensure adequate care for doctors and their families, and extend state-sponsored medical and life insurance facilities to doctors in all sectors.
With input from ANI, PTI