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200 contacts on new positives spread over 6 panchayats | Thiruvananthapuram News

Thiruvananthapuram: The dizzying trail of contacts left over by the three remand prisoners who were tested positive for Covid-19 and without a faint hint of source of infection has converted around 90 wards in six panchayats in the district into containment zones.
Authorities waited for more than a day to initiate action in the villages despite confirming infection in two remand prisoners because chief minister hadn’t made the official declaration. The authorities had an uphill task in their hands as it was known that the infected persons have freely moved across six or seven panchayats getting into primary contact with 60-70 people and leaving secondary contacts to cross 100.
As the task turned out to be harder than expected and epidemiological team finding no clue about probable sources of infection, district disaster management authority had to issue proceedings declaring six panchayats as containment zones.
In the proceedings issued by deputy collector (disaster management) Anu S Nair, it was cited that although serious efforts were made to trace the source of infection of three under-trial prisoners who were tested positive within Venjaramoodu police station limits, no epidemiological link like confirmed travel history or known contact with an infected person could be established. More than 200 contacts were identified by May 29 and they were spread over six panchayats. An emergency meeting of local body representatives, police and health officials was convened on Friday following which it was decided to declare these panchayats as containment zones.
The initial declaration had confined containment zones to limited number of wards in panchayats such as Mudakkal, Pullampara, Vamanapuram, Pulimath, Nellanadu and Manikkal. As number of contacts soared further and with source of infection remaining a mystery in all three cases, all the wards numbering around 90 were converted into containment zones on Saturday. Strict perimeter control has been initiated in all these panchayats and activities like intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance and other clinical interventions have been initiated.
The panchayat authorities and health staff in the containment zones said they may have to depend on police assistance to extract a clear picture about the travel history of the three remand prisoners. Two of the remand prisoners — one from Nellanad and another from Vamanapuram — have posed the biggest challenge. The officials said although their primary contacts are numbered below 100, the secondary contacts have gone beyond 200 and is expected to increase further given the extent of travel done by both these persons in the day before they got arrested. Their links with sale of illicit liquor have also led to increase in contacts and many of them have been reluctant to admit about getting in contact with the infected persons. “We can now focus on initiating basic measures, but the crucial point as to how they got infected has to be revealed. Whether they are connected or have travelled to Tamil Nadu are areas that need to be probed further,’’ an official said.

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