At both Poonthura and Pulluvila in Thiruvananthapuram, a high number of COVID-19 cases have been reported in the past few days.

Four men stand a certain distance apart holding a pipe for disinfection in an area where shops are closed
Coronavirus Coronavirus Friday, July 17, 2020 - 20:01

Two places in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram have community spread of COVID-19, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Friday. Pulluvila in Karumkulam panchayat and Poonthura have had too many COVID-19 cases happening through local transmission, and it’s led to a community spread.

“It is a very critical situation in the coastal areas of Thiruvananthapuram. Fifty one of the 97 persons tested in Pulluvila were positive. In Poonthura Ayush centre, 26 of the 50 persons were positive. We are bringing together a number of departments to work on containing the spread,” CM Pinarayi said.

For better management and containment of COVID-19, the coastal areas of Thiruvananthapuram will be divided into three zones – zone one from Anchuthengu to Perumathura, zone two from Perumathura to Vizhinjam, and zone three from Vizhinjam to Urambu. A special police team will be formed with Thiruvananthapuram City Commissioner Balaram Kumar Upadhya in charge. There will be a control room to receive coronavirus-related information. The police will work with the health department, the panchayats and corporation.

A complete lockdown will need to be imposed in these areas but that will not be done right away. “Tomorrow, we will decide on it,” said CM Pinarayi.

On Friday, Kerala reported 791 new cases of COVID-19 with 246 of these being from Thiruvananthapuram and 115 from Ernakulam. The situation is especially bad in Thiruvananthapuram where 237 of the 246 cases are through local transmission. There are now 1,515 active cases in Thiruvananthapuram.

Set up of First Line Treatment Centres will be completed fast, assured the CM, to incorporate the increasing number of COVID-19 patients, and more testing will be done. In the last 24 hours, 16,642 samples were tested in the state. Over 2.7 lakh samples have been tested so far, apart from the sentinel surveillance done on more than 88,000 people.

The number of recoveries recorded on Friday is 133 leaving 6,029 active cases in the state.

There has also been a death of a man in Thrissur district. Another man who died by suicide on July 14 in Kurissery who had returned from Saudi Arabia was also found to be positive for the coronavirus. But this death, the CM said, will not be counted among the COVID-19 deaths since it is by suicide.

‘Avoid fake news, wear masks’

A lot of fake news is being spread about the pandemic, the CM noted, mentioning a few instances. “That it is like the common cold, that if you need to develop resistance to the disease you should first get the coronavirus, that it won’t affect children or healthy people much, that you die only if you have co-morbidities and so on. None of these have any scientific backing. As of now there has been no specialised medicine or vaccine that’s proved effective. The scientists say they need 12 to 18 months to make sure a vaccine is effective. It has been only six months since their research started. Let’s hope they make it happen soon,” CM Pinarayi said.

He also acknowledged the poor treatment meted out to some health workers who come home from duty. They are isolated and criticised by neighbours and townsfolk and this can only be considered as anti-social behaviour, the CM said. “It is a most humane service that the health workers are doing. Even those who criticise them will need their help if they get infected. These critics must understand who they are working for!”

Despite the number of increasing cases, little caution is being exercised by people in many places, the CM noted. He spoke about observing some places being crowded and how it should not have happened, apparently referring to the crowd outside one of the venues of the Kerala Engineering, Architectural Medical (KEAM) entrance exams on Thursday. A picture of a crowd outside a venue in Thiruvananthapuram, with students and parents not observing physical distance, had gone viral.

Wearing masks was also very important, said the CM, referring to a study called the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report prepared by the American Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The study observed the case of two COVID-19 patients in the US state of Missouri, who worked as hairstylists at a salon. They had begun to show symptoms of the disease since mid-May but continued to work till the disease was confirmed. In the meantime, they served 139 customers each of whom they spent an average 15 minutes with. However, it was found that none of the 139 customers contracted the disease, since all of them as well as the hairstylists had been wearing masks at the time.  

Watch: Strict measures in Poonthura as COVID-19 cases increase

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.