Kerala to screen for coronavirus at border points

Screening for coronavirus at border points launched in Kerala

Passengers stranded in Italy arrive to be admitted to an isolation ward to undergo tests for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at Aluva government general hospital in Kochi. PTI

With increase in number of coronavirus cases, the Kerala government on Sunday launched intensified medical check up at border areas for people entering the state by rail and road.

The government has identified 24 spots in border areas that Kerala share with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and multiple teams each headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) began the checking of vehicles coming into the state.

With a UK national testing positive on Sunday, the number of COVID-19 cases in the state has risen to 20 and as many as 302 people are in isolation wards of various hospitals across the state. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had yesterday said a set of volunteers will be enrolled to assist the health department and they would be given special training by the officials for screening people in the border areas.

"Each team comprises a senior police official (DySP), a paramedical staff and a local volunteer. There are such multiple teams at various border points. They will monitor every vehicle and record the temperature, and other details of the passengers including travel history," a senior police official said.

Similar teams have also been deputed to monitor passengers at various border railway stations. "The state government had informed us about the monitoring of the passengers. But they are yet to begin the massive examination of travellers at railway stations.We have extended our full cooperation," a senior Railway official told PTI. The border railway stations including Parassala, Aryankavu, Walayar, Meenakshipuram, Mahe and Mancheshwaram will be monitored.

The monitoring exercise of the airports in the state was coordinated by DIG Anoop Kuruvila John, a release issued by the state police said. "A total 7,677 people are under observation in the state out of which, 7,375 people are under home quarantine while 302 persons are in isolation wards across the state. Out of the total 1,897 samples that were sent for testing, 1,345 returned negative," Vijayan had said yesterday.

The government had earlier shut schools, colleges and cancelled all the public functions in the state to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, examinations for tenth standard, plus two and vocational higher secondary school are being held. Examinations of various universities will commence from Monday. Kerala has been hit by the second round of COVID-19 cases after the country's first three positive cases in the state were successfully cured and discharged from hospitals last month.

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