Covid: Dakshina Kannada to screen students from Kerala

Dakshina Kannada to conduct mass Covid-19 screening of students from Kerala

Additional technical staff will be deployed to collect swabs and conduct RT-PCR tests on students from Kerala

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo

Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner Dr Rajendra K V said that the health department will launch a drive for mass screening of students from Kerala who studying in colleges in the district for Covid-19.

The move comes in the wake of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai directing the district administration to take all preventive measures to check the outbreak of third wave of Covid-19 and also to enhance the border surveillance.

Additional technical staff will be deployed to collect swabs and conduct RT-PCR tests on students from Kerala, said the DC.

The DC said the test positivity rate in Kerala is still around 8 per cent and the CM has directed to strengthen the surveillance at the border.

Meanwhile, all interstate commuters are being screened for the virus at borders. The district has already deployed police at interstate borders and are allowing commuters who have RT-PCR negative reports. The daily commuters should possess RT-PCR negative reports mandatorily. The officials will conduct random check on the interstate buses travelling to Mangaluru. Though RT-PCR tests are conducted in Kasargod, the CM has directed to conduct tests at the border as well, said the DC.

Along with jurisdictional police, the staff from various departments will be deployed at the check posts in border areas. The officials will work in three shifts at the check posts from Monday, said the DC.

Although the RT-PCR negative certificate was mandatory for those arriving from Kerala, there was a bit of relaxation in the last one month after cases declined in the district. However, the police and Home Guards deployed at Talapady check post have been directing the commuters to possess the RT-PCR negative certificates mandatorily from Monday, said a daily commuter.

The DC said that there is a close bond between Mangaluru and Kasargod with thousands of people commuting daily to the district for various purposes. It is a challenge to monitor all the daily commuters. Dakshina Kannada has many border routes that connect Kasaragod and it is indeed a challenge for the district administration, he said. “Nearly 30 – 40 per cent of people in Kasaragod depend on Mangaluru. Though the positivity rate in Kerala is high, it is less in Kasaragod district. Hence, we will implement a surveillance mechanism without inconveniencing commuters much,” he added.

Awaits South African passengers list

The DC said the district administration is waiting for a list of passengers who had arrived from South Africa. Taking note of multiple cases of a new Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529 in South Africa, the state government has mandated rigorous screening and testing of international arrivals.

“The list will include details of all passengers who arrived in the past 15 days. Meanwhile, the passports of those who are arriving from Dubai via Mangalore International Airport (MIA) will also be checked thoroughly to ensure whether they have visited those countries where new variants have been detected. Even if the passengers from the red list category countries arrive with RT-PCR negative reports, they will be made to undergo tests again and sent for one week’s quarantine. A meeting of MIA authorities will be convened shortly,” he added.

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