The district administration has decided that if there is a demand for cooked food, they will supply it based on the diet requirements of the families.

COVID-19 in Kerala Govt home-delivers groceries to those quarantined in Pathanamthitta
news Coronavirus Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 16:43

On March 8, the officials of Ranni Pazhavangadi Grama Panchayat in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala scrambled when five members in the region — three of whom returned from Italy on February 29 — tested positive for coronavirus. By noon, the officials managed to identify and place 34 families in the panchayat, who may have come in contact with the five members, under quarantine at their houses. By March, this problem compounded as six more people from the same district were tested positive. This meant more people had to be kept in home quarantine.

Now, what happens when these families, put under isolation, want to step out to buy their daily groceries and household supplies? The Pathanamthitta administration —  which meticulously traced and drew out the map of places (and the time) that seven patients visited in the district — has a solution for this, too.

The Pathanamthitta Collectorate, with the help of various panchayats, is home delivering daily essentials to these families. "We realised that people were stepping out to buy food, water and other essentials. So we have made arrangements to ensure they are supplied with these essentials," Collector PB Nooh told the media on Tuesday.

Speaking to TNM, Joseph Kuriakose, the president of Ranni Pazhavangadi panchayat, said they started delivering groceries and other essentials to 34 families from Wednesday. This includes 10 kg rice, chili powder, maida, onions and soap, among other essentials from Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation or Supplyco, which is the execution wing of the Department of Food and Civil Supplies. 

The panchayat president also added that in order to avoid the risk of being infected, the members who deliver the groceries to these families take all necessary precautions.

“The Collectorate is constantly monitoring and in contact with these families so that they do not have to step out and risk spreading the disease. If they run low on the basics, they can contact the Collectorate, which, in turn, will inform us,” said Joseph.

Pathanamthitta District Medical Officer Dr Sheeja told TNM that if there is a demand for cooked food, they will supply it based on the diet requirements of the families, with the help of Kudumbashree, a women’s empowerment project in Kerala.

The district reported 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 48 hours. The three members of the family — a 55-year-old man, his 53-year-old wife and their 26-year-old son — arrived in Kerala from Italy via Doha for a 19-day visit to the state. They interacted with two of their relatives, who are also their neighbours. It was after the two neighbours reported to a local hospital with COVID-19 symptoms on March 6 that the Health Department realised that the family failed to report their travel to Italy. The samples of the five members, which were sent for testing to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Alappuzha, returned positive on March 8, Sunday.

On Tuesday, six more members, who were in contact with them, were diagnosed with the disease: the elderly members of the family (aged 85 and 90), the couple’s daughter and her husband who picked them up from the Kochi International Airport, and two others who were in contact with the non-Indian resident (NRI) family.

On Tuesday, the Pathanamthitta district released a flowchart of the places the first five patients and two other patients visited (public transport spots, bakeries, hospitals, jewellery stores), along with the timings, to trace all those may have potentially come in contact with them. 

Read: Where all did 7 COVID-19 patients go in Kerala? Govt releases maps

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