Ahead of Id festival, Srinagar bakers to face COVID-19 test

Ahead of Id festival, Srinagar bakers to face COVID-19 test

Peerzada Ashiq

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With the festival of Eid just a week away, the administration’s stringent lockdown imposed in Kashmir for over three months now will oversee a ‘sweet’ exit policy for bakery sale soon, where all the bakers will be tested for COVID-19 before they start service.
With bakery and confectionery central to Eid celebrations in Kashmir, deputy commissioner, Srinagar, Dr. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, has launched a two-week training module programme designed for popular bakers in J&K’s capital Srinagar.
“More than 500 workers of around 180 bakeries in Srinagar city were being imparted training … Existence of coronavirus pandemic is a reality and people will have to learn to live with it by following all precautions,” Dr. Choudhary said.
The administration has directed bakers to resume functioning but in a “professional, safe and hygienic framework”. “All bakers have been instructed to only sell packed products and to avoid loose bakery items,” said Dr. Choudhary.

Tests mandatory
Dr. Salim Muhammad Khan, head of the Social and Preventive Medicine department of the Srinagar’s Government Medical College, said during the training the bakers were informed about the mandatory COVID-19 tests.
“What is required now is ease-out as lockouts can’t go indefinitely. All the bakers would be screened for health status and tested for COVID-19. They should use protective gear, maintain cough etiquette and hand hygiene. No sick person should be allowed to work,” Dr. Khan, who is also the designated nodal officer for COVID-19 cases for the GMC, told The Hindu.
Dr. Khan underlined that home delivery will be a good idea to start with.

Free PPEs
According to the Srinagar administration, all the bakers are being given free personal protective equipment (PPEs) kits for their workers, mainly involved in manufacturing and delivery of bakery.
“A dedicated team of officials has been constituted by the Deputy Commissioner for facilitating stakeholders in production and delivery of items. For areas notified as red zones, a special set of measures have been put in place to ensure smooth service in this regard,” said the spokesman.
The Srinagar district administration plans to train more than 10,000 service providers in selected sectors.
“These programmes are being organised for a host of important service providers, including vegetable vendors, milk suppliers, hair dressers, laundry, public transport, telecommunications, housekeeping among other services,” the spokesman said.

Courtesy The Hindu

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