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Roads blocked on Kerala-Karnataka border: Pinarayi says unable to contact Karnataka CM

In the last few days, there have been several reports about villages on the Kerala-Karnataka border in Kasaragod district getting cut off after police officials and villagers deposited large clumps of soil on roads leading to Kerala.

Written by Vishnu Varma | Kochi | Updated: March 28, 2020 10:29:00 pm
Karnataka closes its border it shares with Kerala as a precautionary measure tp prevent spread of coronavirus. (Express photo)

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Saturday complained that there has been no major progress on the part of the Karnataka government to clear roads in border villages in Kasaragod district causing severe inconvenience to the locals there. The chief minister said at his daily press briefing in Thiruvananthapuram that he attempted to contact his Karnataka counterpart BS Yeddyurappa to raise the subject since Saturday morning, but was unable to reach him. Subsequently, he informed Union Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, who has been given charge of Kerala to tackle Covid-19-related issues, to which the latter promised immediate action after consulting the Karnataka government.

In the last few days, there have been several reports about villages on the Kerala-Karnataka border in Kasaragod district getting cut off after police officials and villagers deposited large clumps of soil on roads leading to Kerala — possibly in a bid to restrict vehicular movement during the Covid-19 lockdown. But the move has drastically affected the lives of the people in these villages who are unable to reach the nearest hospital or shops selling essential supplies. Following media reports, the Kerala CM asked chief secretaries of both states to hold consultations and resolve the problem at the earliest. But despite the assurance from the Karnataka chief secretary, there has been no major progress on the front.

“I have been trying to contact the Karnataka CM since morning. Maybe because of his engagements, I have not been able to talk to him. But I spoke to DV Sadananda Gowda in the morning. I raised the problem with him. I informed him that the roads must be cleared as soon as possible. He promised he would check with the Karnataka government and update on the status of the matter. Our chief secretary has also informed the central cabinet secretary about the problem. He said the problem should be resolved by today evening,” CM Vijayan said.

The chief minister also suggested to the union minister about transporting patients in Kasaragod and Manjeswaram areas requiring urgent dialysis in special ambulances to hospitals in Mangaluru. Due to the national lockdown, patients requiring dialysis are having a hard time commuting to hospitals. The union minister responded that it’s a good suggestion and that he would concur with the Karnataka government about implementing it.

First Covid-19 death in state

Kerala Saturday reported the first fatality of coronavirus infection with a 69-year-old man who had returned from Dubai succumbing to the illness. A resident of Kochi, the deceased had prior ailments arising out of cardiac complications and high blood pressure. The last remains were released to the family and buried in accordance with the WHO protocol.

Kerala’s health department has released guidelines asking families of Covid-19 deceased to ensure compliance with the instructions to prevent transmission of the infection. At no point, should there be any contact with the deceased’s body during last rites as the risk of virus transmission post death is very high, it has said.

At present, 165 persons have tested positive for the virus and are undergoing treatment in different districts of the state. Five people were discharged after recovery. The most number of infected persons under treatment is in Kasaragod district (77), followed by Kannur (26) and Ernakulam (13).

Senior cop chastised by CM

At the press briefing, the chief minister criticised the conduct of Kannur SP Yathish Chandra GH who was seen in videos today forcibly making locals do squats for breaking the lockdown measures. The senior IPS officer was punishing people in a village in Kannur district for assembling in a public place.

“Such actions are not acceptable in Kerala. It will tarnish the selfless service of the police,” the CM said, adding that a report has been ordered on the matter.

Rapid testing to check for community transmission

The chief minister said a decision has been taken to undertake rapid diagnostic testing for coronavirus to check for incidence of community transmission in the state. This will also result in faster testing of samples and quicker decision-making. So far, the state government has maintained that they have been able to trace source of infection for all the persons detected with the virus. Most of them have a history of travel to the virus-affected countries or primary contact with those infected.

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