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COVID lockdown in 11 Jammu and Kashmir districts, Grand Mosque halts mass prayers

Srinagar: After a consistent surge in Covid-19 cases, the administration has decided to impose an 84-hour lockdown in 11 out of 20 districts in Jammu and Kashmir, including the summer capital Srinagar from Thursday evening.In addition, Kashmir’s Grand Mosque (Jamia Masjid) has suspended congregational and has asked people to pray at home.

The lockdown, which will begin at 7 pm Thursday and end on 7 am Monday, will be imposed in Srinagar, Baramulla, Budgam, Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Ganderbal in Valley and Jammu, Kathua, Reasi and Udhampur districts in Jammu region.

Essential services, however, have been exempted from the three-day lockdown. J&K on Wednesday recorded 3,023 Covid cases — 2034 in Kashmir and 989 in Jammu region.

The Union Territory also recorded 30 Covid deaths — 18 in Kashmir and 12 in Jammu region. It is the highest single day spike of Covid deaths in J&K since the Covid-19 outbreak last year.Meanwhile, management of Kashmir’s Grand Mosque (Jamia Masjid) today decided to suspend mass prayers in the mosque for an indefinite period.

Meanwhile, Defence Research and Development Organization would build two 500-bedded Covid hospitals at Jammu and Srinagar in view of consistent surge in patient-load over the past few days.

The hospitals would also have 125 fully equipped ICU beds. J&K’s Grand Mufti, Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam advised people to stay indoors and offer prayers at their homes.

“Only symbolic prayers comprising four to five people should be held in the mosques that too with Covid SOPs including social distancing and wearing masks,” he said.