Kerala officials accused of COVID-19 screening lapses

Kerala health authorities accused of lapses in coronavirus screening

Representative Image (PTI Photo)

With the number of coronavirus cases in Kerala increasing, the Kerala government that initially won appreciations for its proactive measures to contain the spread of the virus is now facing criticisms owing to alleged lapses in screening and quarantining of suspects who were later tested positive for the virus.

The fresh allegations triggered after one person tested positive on Thursday and another person tested positive in the preliminary tests were found to be not quarantined even after they turned up for medical check-up a few days back.

While the 44-year old infected person in Kannur, who came from Dubai on March 5, approached the Pariyam medical college with some symptoms he was discharged after a couple of days and was advised to be in-home isolation. Similarly, a native of Thiruvananthapuram who recently visited Italy had also approached the Thiruvananthapuram medical college with some symptoms. But he was also asked to remain in isolation at home. He alleged that he was not even provided with an ambulance and had to travel back in an autorickshaw.

The health authorities were now running helter-skelter tracking all the persons with whom these two persons came in contact over the last few days and even the autorickshaw in which the infected person in travelled was traced. Flow charts of the places were the infected persons travelled were also being published as part of contact tracing efforts.

Opposition slams government

The Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala also alleged that lapses in medical screening at airports were one reason for more COVID-19 cases in Kerala. The Opposition cited a series of instances like lapses in screening a Thiruvananthapuram native who came from Italy and later tested positive in preliminary tests and anchoring of a cruise ship from Italy in Kochi with round 350 tourists.

The health minister urged the opposition to cooperate with the efforts to contain COVID-19 instead of find faults.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala's allegation in the Assembly on Thursday that health minister was trying to gain publicity using Covid-19 scare had triggered widespread criticism as many backed the efforts of the health minister.

The state Assembly's on-going session was also cut short on Friday in view of the COVID-19 alerts even as the opposition strongly objected it.

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