As the J&K administration on Saturday ordered 14 days administrative quarantine for all passengers returning to the Union Territory (UT) by air, rail or road but those already quarantined are fuming as the COVID test samples taken on arrival of many persons have been lost. Such persons were staging protests when taken for resampling in hospitals.

Loss of test samples has become a regular affair mostly due to confusion in the labs as a large number of stranded persons are reaching the UT every day and their samples dispatched there for testing.

The authorities had initially announced a smaller waiting in the quarantine centres before the results came and the period was subsequently increased to 7 days by the chief secretary BVR Subhramanayam.

Now that the centre has decided to resume domestic air flights from Monday, the civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri had announced on Friday that there will be no14 days quarantine for air passengers as this is not practical.

However, the UT authorities have ordered under the disaster management Act that the passengers during 14 days quarantine will be sent home if they test negative and to a hospital if the test came positive.

Quarantined persons protested outside the hospital at Gandhi Nagar where they were brought for resampling, Such reports are coming in also from other places. They complained that their samples were taken on 15 May when they reached here by train but now they were told that their samples have been lost.

Some girls with folded hands asked the authorities to expedite testing of their samples and ask others not to come to J&K as the hands of authorities were full in handling the already arrived passengers.

Having received complaints of the slow pace of testing in Jammu, Dr Jitendra Singh, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, reviewed the measures for expediting coronavirus sample testing procedures. He emphasised on making reports time-bound. He said there would be no unwarranted delay and inconvenience to the quarantined people. He directed the authorities to promptly clear the backlog of samples.

Jammu’s deputy commissioner, Sushma Chauhan, tweeted: “Testing facilities have been stretched to its maximum. Health department is doing the best to give results in shortest possible time….”

Meanwhile, Lt. Governor GC Murmu this morning visited the railway station to take stock of facilities being provided to returnees. More than 90,000 people have so far returned to J&K through air flights, trains and road.