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Covid-19: No new cases in last six days in Pathanamthitta, ‘but cannot relax vigil’

| | Updated on: Mar 17, 2020

Our Bureau

With no new Covid-19 positive cases being reported in the last six days, Pathanamthitta district in Kerala has moved on from being a potential hub after infection was introduced reportedly by a family returning from Italy.

“But it is too early yet to breathe completely free, given the trends observed across the world,” said the District Collector PB Nooh. “We should be on our guard for at least the next week or two.”

Students from Kalaburagi

Giving an update, he said that two persons, including a doctor, have been asked to go into quarantine. The doctor has fever, but he has not yet come in contact with any confirmed patient. In all, 23 people are under observation in hospitals in the district. Of these, eight had returned from travel abroad. The administration has been informed that a group of students are heading from Kalaburagi, which reported the country’s first death from Covid-19 infection a few days ago. “We are in touch with them. As and when they arrive home, they will be put under observation,” Nooh added.

The priority is to ensure that those advised home quarantine strictly comply with the prescribed stipulations. The administration has been able to trace 788 persons who have reached here from travel abroad. Ward Sanitation Committees have been told to keep a track of them to ensure that they remain quarantined.

The panchayat administration has been given ward-wise details of these quarantines, and been directed to refer those with any known symptoms to hospital. Others must mandatorily observe a 14-day home quarantine.

Police help for tourists

The office of the Director-General of Police has said that police personnel will be pressed into service to ensure that foreign tourists are provided adequate assistance. The DGP has issued a circular directing to report any stranded foreign tourists promptly to the Department of Tourism to assure them of needed help. The initiative from the office of the DGP comes in the context of reports from differents parts of the state of foreign tourists being denied accommodation or even food due to fear of contracting the Covid-19 virus.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that foreign tourists need to be treated with empathy and hotels and homestay owners should not close their doors on them fearing spread of the Covid-19 virus. Speaking to newspersons here he on Monday, he said the tourism sector was vital to the State’s economy. “We’re in a for a long haul fighting the virus and it is just right that we maintain a heightened level of awareness and vigil. But that does not mean we treat foreign tourists with hostility, sullying our name as a perfect host,” Vijayan said.

Three more new cases

Three more people had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus on Monday, taking the total number of patients to 24 in the State. Two of the new cases were in Malappuram and the other in Kasaragod in northern part of Kerala. They had arrived from Dubai and Saudi Arabia. They have been put on home quarantine on arrival, according to Health Minister KK Shylaja, who was also present along with the Chief Minister. The State is bracing for a spike in suspected infection cases, with non-residents arriving in large batches at the four international airports.

Central Minister goes under quarantine

Meanwhile, a report from New Delhi said that the V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, has gone into self-isolation at his official residence. This follows his recent visit to the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, an Institution of National Importance under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, and based in Thiruvananthapuram. A resident doctor returning home from Spain on March 1 and had since tested positive to Covid-19, after being found asymptomatic initially. A number of his colleagues at the hospital have already been compelled to self-quarantine themselves. But the SCTIMST said on Tuesday that it was unlikely that the Union Minister is infected.

Sabarimala pilgrims safe

A report from Sabarimala said that the monthly puja is drawing to a close, and all pilgrims trekking to the Lord Ayyappa temple have been subjected to infrared thermal screening. A State government official said that 6,050 pilgrims were screened in this manner and not a single case of fever or other symptoms was identified. The monthly puja was conducted with full compliance to the strict protocol for places of worship issued by the government, and therefore the attendance was thin. Meanwhile, the Thrissur district administration has strictly banned begging and declared that buses and autorickshaws must make available hand sanitisers on board. All ATMs in the district are being sanitised, with directions to customers prominently featured at the place.

Published on March 17, 2020

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