Srinagar, Mar 26, 2020: Two young siblings, grandchildren of a 65-year-old who died of coronavirus in Srinagar, have tested positive for the virus, an official said on Thursday, NDTV reported.
The two include an eight-month-old who could be the country’s youngest coronavirus victim. The other child is seven.
"Two more positive cases in Srinagar. Siblings (seven-years-old and eight-months-old)... Total number of active positive cases is now at 11," government spokesperson Rohit Kansal tweeted.
Their grandfather had recently returned from Saudi Arabia. He tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday and died in hospital this morning.
This is the first coronavirus death in Kashmir.
The entire neighbourhood has been sealed by the police and contact tracing is underway.
The man was a religious preacher affiliated to the Tableeji Jamaat and his death has led to worries about a rapid spread in the area.
Official sources say over 70 people, including seven doctors, had come in contact with him and at least four have tested positive so far. All the rest have been shifted to different quarantine facilities.
An inquiry has been ordered into the alleged mishandling, with PK Pole, Divisional Commissioner (Kashmir), writing in his report that the patient had been given "ample time to spread the virus" and there was "absolute negligence" by health officials, including the medical superintendent of the Sher-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences.
The man had travelled to different parts of the country before returning to Kashmir on March 16.
The organisation he belonged to - Tableegi Jamaat - is headquartered at Banglwali Masjid in Delhi’s Nizamuddin neighbourhood and has a vast network of mosques around the world. The organisation encourages followers to spend up to three months in religious service and visit these mosques.
The man also visited Andaman and Nicobar and a mosque in Jammu’s Samba before flying to Srinagar.
Back in Srinagar, he visited a neighbourhood mosque and the Jamaat centre in Sopore in north Kashmir, all the while coughing and sneezing.
Across India the number of active cases has crossed 600; at least 13 deaths have been linked to this virus.
The country entered a "total lockdown" for 21 days on Wednesday, as ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to break the chain of transmission.
Worldwide the virus, which originated in China’s Wuhan district in December last year, has killed more than 18,000 people and infected over 4.1 lakh others