A 65-year-old man infected with COVID-19 in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) died on Thursday, recording the first death in the mountainous region due to the deadly virus, India Today reported.
“Sad News : First death due to Coronavirus- 65 years old Male from Hyderpora Srinagar. Four of his contacts also tested positive yesterday,” said Rohit Kansal, Indian government’s spokesman in the region, on Twitter.
Sad News : First death due to Coronavirus- 65 years old Male from Hyderpora Srinagar. Four of his contacts also tested positive yesyerday. @diprjk @MoHFW_INDIA @HealthMedicalE1
— Rohit Kansal (@kansalrohit69) March 26, 2020
The man was tested positive for the virus, which also infected 11 people in the region, on Tuesday and died at the main city hospital of the region early in the morning today.
The patient hailing from the main city of the region, Srinagar, had returned recently from the Indian capital New Delhi, after participating in a religious gathering attended by people from Indonesia and Malaysia as well.
Held Kashmir is under complete lockdown since Aug 5 last year when the Indian government unilaterally scrapped the constitutional clause providing special status to the disputed territory and annexed it.
Pakistan has called for the uplifting of restrictions time and again. In her weekly press briefing last week, Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui again called on India to “lift communication blockade on the occupied valley and ensure supplies of essential commodities to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the suffering of Kashmiris”.
“We call upon the Indian government to lift the blockade in the region in order to obtain full information on affected people and provision of essential items and medical supplies to the affected people,” Farooqui said at the time.
As of now, at least eight people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the Kashmir region while three have been reported from the Jammu region earlier this month taking the tally to 11. Over 5,000 patients in the region have been kept under strict lockdown, while one has recovered from the virus.
Several independent media reports have noted the fear and anxiety prevailing in held Kashmir as the coronavirus situation deteriorates in India and elsewhere in the world.
According to Al Jazeera, hospitals have an acute shortage of doctors and paramedics, while its healthcare facilities are insufficient to meet the crisis which has unsettled countries with world-class medical infrastructure.
Apprehensions abound that the first death may be just the “tip of the iceberg” as several hundred people, most of whom had traveled to other countries, were placed under quarantine.
The coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 175 countries and territories. The WHO has declared the outbreak a pandemic.
The number of confirmed cases worldwide has now surpassed 471,700, while the death toll is more than 21,300, and over 114,800 have recovered, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Despite the rising number of cases, most who become infected suffer only mild symptoms and recover.