As the number of COVID-19 cases in the state crossed the 25,000 mark, the Kerala government has entrusted major responsibilities of pandemic control and prevention measures to the police. Kochi city police commissioner Vijay Sakhare has been appointed as state-level nodal officer for coordination of pandemic prevention measures.
Kerala Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan recently admitted that serious lapses and negligence had resulted in a big spike in the last few weeks. Though the state could effectively manage the pandemic in the initial phase, negligent attitude crept in the next phase worsened the situation, remarked the chief minister. He also stressed the need for stringent and intensified preventive measures.
Now, the police will be responsible for demarcating containment zones, tracing primary and secondary contacts of the infected, 24-hour monitoring to ensure compliance of health protocol in containment zones, tracking persons under quarantine and ensuring social distancing and other guidelines in markets and other public places.
Police personnel will also be responsible for shifting primary and secondary contacts to hospitals, first-line treatment centres or quarantine institutions. A special team will be constituted in each police station under the SI for this purpose. Till now, health inspectors were responsible for tracing and shifting primary and secondary contacts.
Strict action will be taken against those who violate quarantine guidelines. No one will be allowed to enter or exit from containment zones and either cops or selected volunteers will be deputed for home delivery of essential goods in such areas.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to modify the criteria for demarcating an area as a containment zone. Not the entire wards or divisions in local bodies will be marked as containment zones, but the zones will be more localised.
The state has been recording more than 1,000 new cases per day for the last few days and the total number of cases stands at 26,873. The number of active cases is 11,487. While it took more than five months to reach 10,000 cases, it took only less than three weeks to cross the 25,000 mark.
Though the COVID-19 mortality rate in Kerala is very low when compared to the national average, the number of deaths is increasing in the state. The total death toll is 86 including the two deaths reported on Tuesday....