Covid-19 draws a blank for second day on trot in Kerala

Our Bureau | Updated on March 19, 2020 Published on March 19, 2020

Three persons have reported positive for coronavirus, 84 have been admitted to hospitals and 2,155 are under home quarantine   -  -

The Covid-19 virus drew a blank for a second day on trot in Kerala with no new positive cases being reported even as the state continues to secure its defences. This is despite the rise in number of persons quarantined at homes or hospitals to 25,603 on Wednesday, 7,861 more than the previous day.

Of these, 25,366 are quarantined at homes, and 237 in hospitals. At least 57 new admissions were recorded in hospitals but official figures also suggest that 4,622 persons were released free from quarantine. Of the 2,220 samples tested on Wednesday, as many as 2,140 have proved negative.

First cluster neutralised

The number of positive cases identified remain at 24 with the first three, also the country's first, having been given given the all-clear and sent home long back. It was only later that a family returning from worst-affected Italy evaded screening on arrival at the CIAL Airport in Kochi and headed home to Pathanamthitta, triggering a localised cluster. The scare seems to have been neutralised with no positive cases from the district during the past six to seven days.


It was also during this period that the country's first death from the virus was declared in Kalaburagi in Karnataka. It had sent shock waves here as two elderly kin of the Pathanamthitta family, aged 93 and 89, were battling for their lives at the Government Medical College in Kottayam. But both have since been nursed back to health. No new clustering, a phase before the virus spread passes into the worrisome stage 3, or the transmission stage, has not been reported so far in the state.

Break the Chain campaign

This period saw the State government launch an all-out effort to contain the virus spread in the context of increased arrivals from non-residents, culminating in the launch of the Break the Chain campaign. Government offices, institutions, utilities, private companies, political parties, voluntary organisations and NGOs across the state have since taken up the campaign. Even news anchors on live television channels have a hand sanitiser by the side and demonstrate the hand wash exercise to viewers.

The government is also strictly monitoring movement at its borders, checking passengers with thermal scanners. Hand wash kiosks are opening by the dozen at bus stops, railway stations, and offices. Southern Railway staff frequent trains running within the state with a campaign advising passengers to keep personal hygiene as top priority, and most often carry thermal scanners.

Request to retired doctors

On Wednesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the State government would request retired doctors and health activists to join the drive against Covid-19. A list of such resource persons would be prepared at the district-level. The private sector sector hospitals also are being asked to become partners, at the instance of Indian Medical Association. Covid care centres will be opened in all districts by converting good-samaritan hotels and lodges.

Shortage of masks and sanitisers will be dealt with and adequate numbers made available, the Chief Minister said. Primary and community health centres will be advised to remain open for extended hours. Hotels and shops will be encouraged to set up online/e-commerce channels and execute home deliveries. Separately, the Chief Minister requested religious heads to control to the minimum possible level (not exceeding 50) convergence of worshippers for festivals and functions.

Published on March 19, 2020
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