Students in quarantine centres complain of poor facilities

Srinagar: The Kashmiri students who arrived from Bangladesh in the valley since yesterday complained of poor arrangements at the quarantine centres where they have been put in.

The students alleged that they were not properly screened at the Srinagar Airport but were sent to quarantine centres which do not have proper facilities. “We have been kept with those who have returned from Italy and UK. We should have been screened properly before sent to quarantine centres,” a student suggested.

Complaining of “improper hygiene”, another student said they were kept in big halls with no basic facilities. “If we continue to remain here, it will only spread the COVID-19.”

The students alleged that the administration by dealing with the issue in a casual manner was “risking the lives of the students”.

“It is not like everyone who returned from outside countries is infected; but they are treating us as COVID-19 suspects and have put around two dozen people in one room,” a student said.

They alleged the students and other passengers who arrived at Srinagar airport from UK or Italy were bundled in one vehicle and sent to one single quarantine centre.  “The rooms are filthy and dirty. They in no sense can be called quarantine centres. Given the unhygienic conditions of the rooms, we have apprehensions of further spread of the infection,” the student said.

“Bangladesh is not in the list of affected countries but we are unnecessarily caged here. If they have not screened us why are we being suspected,” the students asked.

The parents seconded their wards. “As per WHO guidelines, isolation and hygiene are basic preventive measures to be taken to avoid spread of COVID-19 but no such measures were being taken by the administration,” a parent said.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang Kondbarao Pole said “anyone with foreign travel history is taken to quarantine centres and kept under observation”.

“Isolation and observation are different. Isolation is one man is kept in one room and it applies for those who have tested positive or have developed symptoms,” the Divisional Commissioner said.

“And people who are under observation can be kept in groups. It doesn’t affect anyone. They are given treatment and shifted for isolation only if they develop symptoms of COVID-19,” he explained.

The Divisional Commissioner advised people not to treat “these students as affected who are under observation at different quarantine homes”.

“Their presence will not affect surrounding neighbors,” he said.

Similar complaints from Bangladesh

Meanwhile, the Kashmiri students who are still stuck in Bangladesh on Friday complained of poor arrangements at quarantine centres set up by the college authorities there. These students are pursuing various professional courses in different colleges and universities in Bangladesh.

A group of students complained that they were heading towards home from Dhaka and their college authorities want them to stay back and take all responsibilities of their safety.

“The students who are going Kashmir have been quarantined for now. Being doctors, we are not against the quarantine. We know and understand the situation better than anyone in the community but the way they are quarantining us is not good,” said Mehvish, one of the students.

The students complained of poor arrangements in quarantine centres saying that it will lead to the spread of infections.

“They are accommodating so many people together in a dormitory. Who knows if someone is really infected?” the students asked.

They said there are no proper sanitary measures and are using the same old masks. “Some even don’t have proper clothes because the temperature is above 30°C in Bangladesh. They have kept 10 people in a single room,” the student said.

The students said the chances of getting infected would be “less” if they are allowed to go home. “If someone is carrying virus he will infect the others as well. If they would home quarantine us the chance of spread is minimum and we being doctors won’t risk the life of our loved ones,” Mehvish said.

Another student, Zeenat also complained of poor arrangements at quarantine centres and demanded that they should be allowed to return home.

“We want to return home but due to high air fares it is not possible for us. On the other hand there are no international flights from March 22,” she said.

The students appealed to the J&K administration to intervene in the matter and facilitate their home return.


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