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Kerala confirms community transmission in coastal areas

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, at the daily briefing, said community transmission of the coronavirus is observed to have taken place in the coastal neighbourhoods of Pulluvila and Poonthura in Thiruvananthapuram district.

Written by Vishnu Varma | Kochi | Updated: July 17, 2020 8:52:52 pm
Kerala coronavirus cases, Kerala coronavirus community transmission, Kerala coronavirus cases community transmission, Kerala covid cases, India news, Indian Express Kozhikode: Health workers collect swab sample from a woman for COVID-19 tests, in Kozhikode, Thursday, July 9, 2020. (PTI Photo)

The Kerala government Friday confirmed the community spread of coronavirus in two coastal areas in Thiruvananthapuram district. The development, which is indicative of the vulnerability of coastal areas to the virus, comes even as nearly 800 new cases were reported in the state in the last 24 hours with total Covid-19 count surging past 11,000. Follow coronavirus LIVE updates

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, at the daily briefing, said community transmission of the coronavirus is observed to have taken place in the coastal neighbourhoods of Pulluvila and Poonthura in the capital district. He also indicated that a complete lockdown is likely to be imposed in Thiruvananthapuram’s coastal areas.

Read | Kerala: First-line treatment centres to come up in every panchayat

“Three zones will be demarcated. The first zone will be from Anchuthengu to Perumathura. The second zone is from Perumathura to Vizhinjam and the third zone from Vizhinjam to Urambu. A special police mechanism has been designed to bring the situation in these areas under control,” the CM said.

The tough measures are being enforced citing high case positivity rate, especially in the coastal areas where density of population is higher and social distancing measures impractical.

Read | Kerala: Doctor cares for baby for month after his parents test positive

“In 97 samples tested in Pulluvila in Karinkulam panchayat, 51 are positive. In 50 samples tested at Poonthura Ayush centre, 26 are positive. In Puthukurissery, 20 out of 75 samples are positive. In Anchuthengu, 15 out of 83 samples came back positive. These are signs that the spread of the disease is extreme,” Vijayan said.

Thiruvananthapuram City Police Commissioner Balram Kumar Upadhyay has been given charge of the special mechanism planned in the coastal areas. A control room will be set up with health, police, the corporation and panchayat units working in tandem to address issues. Two IAS officers have been appointed as incident commanders in each of the three zones to oversee the situation.

Read | Kerala study finds major gains from HCQ, azithromycin in first 500 cases

People residing in containment zones in the coastal areas can go out only to purchase essential supplies. Lockdown regulations, which is most likely to be enforced Saturday, will be in accordance with the disaster management protocol. The CM has directed SupplyCo, the state’s cooperative agency, to ensure the supply of essential items in the coastal areas.

‘Health workers are doing service to mankind’

The CM condemned instances of ostracisation and unfair treatment of health workers by locals and neighbours when they are in quarantine at home after finishing official duties.

Read | These states have more Covid-19 recoveries than active cases

“This is anti-social behaviour. Health workers are performing the greatest service to mankind. When the people, who are pointing fingers at them now, contract the infection, they have to be treated by the same health workers,” he said.

10 large community clusters in the state

Kerala currently has 94 clusters where the spread of infection is relatively higher through primary or secondary contact than other places. Among the 84 clusters, 10 are large community clusters, which includes the likes of Chellanam in Ernakulam district and Poonthura in Thiruvananthapuram. When such clusters form, specific containment strategies like centralised lockdown are being taken by the health department.

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