- Kerala government revises containment zone guidelines
- Home quarantine must be strictly adhered to: CM Pinarayi Vijayan
- Strict action will be taken against violators of COVID-19 guidelines: Govt
New Delhi: Once known as the state that has fought the COVID-19 crisis well and praises from the likes of, Nobel-laureate and economist Amartya Sen and United Nations that honoured Kerala Health Minister K.K Shailaja’s handling of the pandemic, Kerala, today is facing a rapid surge in coronavirus cases. According to the ministry of health and family welfare, Kerala has reported around 27,000 cases since the beginning of the pandemic in January. Out of these 27,000, 11,511 remains active with 84 deaths, till date. Kerala government has drafted another action plan to tackle the surge in the coronavirus cases. Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday announced a series of changes in the norms for demarcating containment zones in the state. Briefing the media, CM Pinarayi Vijayan said,
Henceforth, containment zones will be defined after tracing the primary and secondary contacts of a positive person. The containment zones would not be spread across a ward or a wide area but will be highly localised in and around the residences of those identified and mapped during contact tracing.
He said that the arrangements will be made for home delivery of essential items. In case that is not possible, the police or volunteers will bring the goods home. He added,
The containment zone would be a well-restricted area with limitations on entry and exit. The declaration of the containment zone will not be for a particular period but will continue until it is ensured that the primary and secondary contacts in the area are free from infection.
The Chief Minister informed that to maintain the containment zones and ensure all rules are followed properly, District Collectors, District Police Chiefs and DMOs (District Magistrate Officers) will monitor the situation daily. He also said that the police have been entrusted with the job of assisting the District Collector and the District Disaster Management Authority to locate and mark the containment zone in the wake of the virus outbreak.
Police enforcement will be strengthened to effectively enforce restrictions in the Containment Zone. Violation of quarantine norms and not maintaining social distancing in public places will be dealt with severely by the police. The police have also been given the task of tracing and locating the primary and secondary contacts of those who test positive and transferring them to the hospital or quarantine centre, as required. The contact tracing should be done within 24 hours. The Chief Minister added that so far 7,03,977 people have arrived in Kerala after the lockdown was lifted, 4,34,491 came from other states and 2,69,486 came from foreign countries. 3,672 COVID positive cases were reported among them and arrangements were made to provide treatment to all.
Talking about the surge in coronavirus cases in the state, CM Pinarayi Vijayan said laxity and complacency were the reasons even though Kerala was lauded for its good work in preventing the spread of the infection initially. He added,
The people should not be complacent in taking precautionary measures against COVID-19. It is important not only to treat the disease but also to take precautions to prevent it. Earlier we had taken all the necessary precautions. Everyone hailed Kerala for its good work in COVID-19 activities. But we were careless for a number of reasons. We must remember with guilt that this is the reason we have reached the present state.
The Chief Minister ‘s remarks come at a time when Kerala’s active cases which had once reached to 16 has now risen to more than 11,000 on Sunday evening. CM Vijayan said that Kerala should move seriously and with single-mindedness to overcome the present surge in the number of COVID-19 cases. He added,
Home quarantine must be strictly adhered to. Physical distance is mandatory. There is no compromise in this regard. Strict action will be taken against those who show negligence. The locals came together to voluntarily donate the required beds and cots to the first-line treatment centres. Such people’s participation is necessary to prevent the pandemic.
The Chief Minister said that there are currently 284 Family Health Centres functioning in the state and in addition 102 family primary health care centres were upgraded to take the total Family Health Centres to 386.
Backing up CM’s decision on strengthening Kerala’s action plan for COVID, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja also said that strict action will be taken against those who violate the COVID-19 guidelines issued by the government. She added that elderly people are the ones who get into a critical condition quickly after getting infected by a coronavirus. KK Shailaja adds,
Moreover, many of them are on medication for various ailments. With this in mind, reverse quarantine is being implemented for them. In addition, the Department of Social Justice is implementing a number of schemes for the protection of the elderly. Institutions were given the mandate that those living in government and private homes should not go out during the COVID period and no one should be allowed into the home from outside. However, in violation of this, some people from private homes in Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram came out, which resulted in the spread of the disease in care homes. If such an incident occurs, action will be taken against those who do not follow the instructions. Arrangements have been made to contact the health department for examining those with symptoms. Only one person is allowed to leave the home for getting essential items and visitors are not allowed. A new help desk has been set up at the Directorate of Social Justice for senior citizens as part of COVID prevention activities.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.