Surveillance along the border between Kerala and Tamil Nadu has also been stepped up with thermal screening taking place.

A medical professional collecting the samples for coronavirus
news Coronavirus Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - 10:09

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday ordered districts bordering Kerala to step up surveillance and to make all air travellers from the state to mandatorily undergo a RT-PCR test. Its order comes as Kerala witnesses a high COVID-19 caseload. Apart from surveillance camps, the state government is also conducting thermal screening at border districts. Cluster testing is also being carried out in Chennai, Coimbatore and Chengalpattu districts.

The state health department continues to aggressively test for the virus and is involved in tracing the contacts, as it is determined to further bring down the cases, Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan said. Expressing concern over non-compliance of COVID-19 protocols by people, including those who gather for political rallies, he appealed to the people not to lower the guard as five states in India have recorded an increase in cases.

"Wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing should strictly be followed. It was noticed during certain political meetings that the cadres did not wear face masks or follow social distancing. Such an offhand attitude could lead to unpleasant consequences," he said and pointed out to an incident in Amravati district in Maharashtra where a family has been infected by the virus.

Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, apart from Kerala have recorded a surge in daily new cases of COVID-19. The Union Health Ministry had said both Kerala and Maharashtra cumulatively accounted for over 74 per cent of India's total active cases.

Radhakrishnan said, "Tamil Nadu has a low positivity rate of 0.9 per cent per 100 persons and a majority of those who get admitted early with coronavirus symptoms are treated and discharged. I appeal to the people not to delay if they have Coronavirus symptoms but undergo test and treatment accordingly."

"Late arrival invariably leads to problems," the health secretary told reporters here after inaugurating three RO plants at the Tamil Nadu government multi-super speciality Hospital, here, that has been sponsored by the RCC Platinum Trust.

On the preventive measures, he said apart from surveillance camps, thermal screening will be carried out in the border districts and cluster testing will be done in Chennai, Coimbatore and Chengalpattu districts.

All the passengers arriving by flight should have RT-PCR negative certificates. "Passengers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa will be subjected to TR-PCR test upon arrival," he said.

About 36 direct returnees from the UK and their 26 contacts, who tested positive, were treated and discharged.

And 10 among the 11 passengers with new virus strain from the UK too were treated and discharged, he said.

Further, the district health officials have been told to be extra cautious owing to the reporting of dengue cases in few southern districts and also many from Tirunelveli district had Mumbai connection, the official added.

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