Kerala politician with no foreign travel history gets COVID-19, tracing contacts a big task

The politician does not have contact with any infected person nor has travel history outside the state.
Kerala politician with no foreign travel history gets COVID-19, tracing contacts a big task
Kerala politician with no foreign travel history gets COVID-19, tracing contacts a big task
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If it was a 47-year-old Dubai returnee who had put the authorities in Kasaragod district on their toes, it is a politician from Idukkki who is giving sleepless nights to authorities in the district.

Despite strict government advisory, the Dubai businessman did not quarantine himself at home on return but had attended multiple weddings, other functions and even played football at a public ground. He later tested positive for COVID-19, potentially putting all those he met at risk.

An Idukki-based Congress leader is now among the three positive cases reported from the hilly district.

He tested positive on Thursday. Significantly, he neither travelled outside the state after the outbreak of the pandemic nor did he come into contact with anyone who was infected.

District authorities are preparing the route map of the places he traveled; they hope to finish the task by Friday. The politician has been shifted to the isolation ward set up at the district hospital in Thodupuzha.

“He had had fever since March 13. He went to Thodupuzha on March 14 and on the same day he went to the district hospital with fever. He did not have primary contact with anyone who was infected nor had he been outside the state. Hence, initially it was thought that it was normal fever only and hence, the swab was not tested. Then, the swab test was taken on March 23 as the fever persisted,” Idukki District Collector, H Dinesan told TNM.

The person had been on home quarantine since March 15.  

“We will ask everyone who was in primary contact with him to go on home quarantine today (Friday) itself. Primary contacts are expected to be by today itself and secondary contacts by tomorrow,” the collector added.  

The travel history of the politician since February 28 is being traced for the preparation of the route map.

The patient is also a leader of the Congress-affiliated trade union, INTUC.

Travel history

According to reports, he had attended a protest event organised by the trade union at Sholayur in Palakkad district on March 7.

It takes five hours to travel from Idukki to Palakkad. He was in Perumbavoor the following day.

On March 9, he visited the Congress offices and government-run rest houses in Thodupuzha in Idukki and Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam, which shares a border with Idukkki.

On the same day, he travelled to Thiruvananthapuram, the southernmost part of the state. He boarded a train from Perumbavoor, the central part of the state. The journey to Thiruvananthapuram takes over five hours.

In Thiruvananthapuram, he met former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Education Minister C Raveendranath and MLAs Roshy Augustine and PT Thomas.

The leader had even visited the Assembly complex when it was in session.

On March 12, he went to Munnar in Idukki, one of the main tourist hubs in the state.

Idukki is the second largest district in the state after Palakkad. It takes hours to travel from one town to another in the hilly district.

On the same day, he went to Marayur in the district, which lies at a distance of 40 km, to take part in a protest, in which around 100 people took part.

Members of the Marayur Grama Panchayat and teachers of single-teacher schools were present to participate in the protest.

On the same day, he also visited the Tata Hospital in Munnar to visit a party colleague of his and took part in a ritual at the Jama-ath in the evening.

On March 13, he attended two events: one at Thodupuzha and the other at Arakkulam. He later went to a meeting at the Collectorate, in which Idukki MP Dean Kuriakose also took part, and then to the party office in Cheruthoni, which again is some distance away.

The other two cases in the district include a UK national who was staying in a resort in Munnar and a young man from Kumaramangalam who tested positive on March 11. The UK national’s sample was taken while he was in Idukki, later he and his team tried to flee and were caught at the Cochin International airport. He was admitted at the Kalamassery Medical College in Ernakulam and tested positive on Thursday.

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