With Indian Railways all set to partially commence some train services from Tuesday to help those stranded in various places, Kerala government plans to put in place airport-model COVID-19 screening at three railway stations, where the trains will halt.
The stops in Kerala are Kozhikode, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram railway stations.
State minister VS Sunil Kumar said symptomatic passengers will be shifted to hospitals from the stations and others would be transported to their home districts in specially arranged Kerala State Road Transport (KSRTC) buses.
"These special trains will have only three stops in Kerala -- Kozhikode, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram. The Railways will provide us with the full address details of the passengers. We will segregate them according to their respective districts and finalise the list of people alighting at the three stations. Those who reach the state will be screened and tested for symptoms," Sunil Kumar told PTI.
As per central government guidelines, Railways has to ensure that all passengers are compulsorily screened and only asymptomatic passengers are allowed to board the trains.
Passengers will be provided with hand santisers at entry and exit points at stations and in coaches and all passengers will have to wear face masks.
On arrival at their destinations here, they will have to adhere to the state's health protocols, Sunil Kumar said.
The minister said that counters like those at the airports to screen passengers would be in place at the three stations.
"We will open separate counters like we have done in the airports. We expect at least 1,400 people in each train and they will alight at three different stations. The final plan will be made by Wednesday evening," he said.
The passengers will be subjected to thermal screening at the railway stations. A passenger having high temperature would be segregated and sent to the hospitals for a formal check-up, the minister said.
"Those who are symptomatic will be sent to hospital. Non-symptomatic persons will be allowed to board KSRTC buses, taken to their districts and home quarantined," he added.
Various departments and the local self-government institutions will enquire whether the passenger has facilities at their residences to go into home quarantine and if not, they would be shifted to institutional quarantine.
"We will also enquire whether the person has a facility to stay in home quarantine. For home quarantine, we will enquire whether the house has a bath-attached room, whether it is possible for the person to stay alone in the room and if there is anyone above the age of 60 years in that house. If not (facilities are not available and there are elderly persons at home), we will arrange institutional quarantine. Paid quarantine is also available," the minister said.
There was no need for any relatives or friends to reach the station to pick up the passengers as the state has arranged transportation facility by KSRTC buses, he said.
He added that Kerala has been following the Centre's guidelines, which state that anyone arriving from other states will have to be in strict 14 day quarantine.
There will be local level monitoring committees to ensure that those who are in home quarantine do not move around to visit friends and relatives, he said.
The state has 520 confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far and currently 27 are under treatment.
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