Kerala heaved a sigh of relief Saturday with no new positive cases of Covid-19 infection being reported in the state in an indication that the tough surveillance and quarantine measures of the state’s health department worked in containing the virus so far.
At present, the state has 19 active Covid-19 cases, all of them in isolation at government hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kannur districts. At present, there are 7677 people under observation in the state, out of which 7375 people are under home quarantine and the remaining 302 people in hospitals. Out of a total of 1897 samples tested so far for the virus, 1345 samples have come back negative, with many yet to be received.
As part of greater surveillance measures, the police will begin screening of border railway stations in the state to keep a tab on the passengers arriving in the state from other states. The local police under the leadership of a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) rank officer will hold screenings at stations like Parassala, Manjeshwar, Walayar and others which are at the borders to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. If long-distance express trains don’t stop at these stations, the screenings will be conducted at the station where they stop within Kerala. A three-member team consisting of a police officer, a health official and a health volunteer will man two coaches each.
At each of the four international airports in the state, a police officer with the rank of SP will oversee the screening measures. State police chief Lokenath Behera has issued instructions to top officers to involve the police force as closely with public administration and health department officers in Covid-19 monitoring measures. District police chiefs will attend daily meetings with collector, DMO and district panchayat chief.
Meanwhile, with three active cases in the district and contact tracing of infected patients underway, Thiruvananthapuram Collector S Gopalakrishnan ordered the closure of malls, gatherings at public places like beaches under the Disaster Management Act. Commercial establishments like gyms, salons, ayurvedic retreat centres must limit functioning to ensure social distancing. He also said people must avoid leaving their homes unless absolutely necessary, especially in Varkala, where the Italian tourist who tested positive for the virus spent nearly two weeks. Foreign tourists currently staying at resorts in the district must continue to remain in isolation at these places until further notice by the district administration. Directives in this regard have been passed on to resort owners and managements.
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