Thiruvananthapuram

Maintaining vigil to keep the virus at bay

Sanitation worker disinfecting a bus in which a person in home quarantine was found travelling in, near Pattom on Saturday.

Sanitation worker disinfecting a bus in which a person in home quarantine was found travelling in, near Pattom on Saturday.  

Health inspectors, JPHNs on their toes in city wards to check coronavirus spread

The time is around 9 p.m. One of the health inspectors of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation receives a frantic call from a resident saying that he had spotted a person, who was supposed to be in home quarantine near a junction. Over the next few minutes, calls are made to the person in quarantine, who denies having gone out. He also promises to comply with the directions. In between, the health inspector slips in a warning that they will be forced to inform the police if he is noticed outside again.

In another ward, a Junior Public Health Nurse (JPHN) receives a Whatsapp message of a list of things a person in home quarantine requires.

Quarantine needs

The message is conveyed to the civic body authorities and within an hour, the things including medicines and groceries are purchased and brought to the person’s doorstep.

Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak, health inspectors of the local bodies, JPHNs, Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers, and a team of volunteers have been on their toes, keeping track of those in home quarantine and meeting their various demands, besides taking steps to prevent large gatherings at religious festivals in their wards.

“Around 40 persons are in home quarantine in the Thirumala health circle. The neighbours and the JPHNs are extra vigilant in ensuring that none of them move out of their homes. The ASHA workers are helpful in tracing the locations. We are constantly in touch over phone with those in quarantine. Once in a while, we receive requests for various items, although some go a bit overboard and request a lot of items,” says Gopakumar, health inspector of the Thirumala health circle.

On Saturday, at around 7 p.m., the health officials received a call from the police regarding a person who had escaped quarantine and was found travelling in a KSRTC bus near Pattom.

They rushed to the spot, took steps to move those in the bus to quarantine, and disinfected the bus.

Defying directions

“Our job is to let them know about the importance of being in quarantine and making them feel comfortable. In some houses, despite this, strict quarantine is not being maintained, as those quarantined were found to interact closely with family members. On Sunday, a 25-year-old who had returned from Delhi was found outside his home, despite multiple warnings from us. We had to inform the police who issued a warning to him that legal action will be taken in case he repeats this,” says Ahalya, who works as JPHN in Palode.

Social reaction

On Saturday morning, a person and his wife had arrived from Dubai and headed to their house in Kalliyoor panchayat for home quarantine, but the neighbours were not keen on having them there. The Corporation health officials had to bring them back to an isolation centre set up at Kadakampally ward.

20 volunteers

“We have formed a control unit in each ward. A team of 20 volunteers have also been formed in each ward, consisting of people from the locality. They have been provided training and they will keep an eye on those in quarantine,” says S.S. Minu, Nanthencode health inspector.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 12:26:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/maintaining-vigil-to-keep-the-virus-at-bay/article31146900.ece

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