Thiruvananthapuram

Poonthura turns a major cluster

Portable power sprayer machines being readied to be used to disinfect houses and small spaces as part of COVID-19 containment activities, in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.  

Poonthura, located in the thickly populated coastal region of Thiruvananthapuram, is fast emerging as a major cluster with 54 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and more than a 100 cases over one week. From the reporting of the first positive case, of a fish vendor, here on July 1, things escalated quickly to what came to be classified as a ‘super spreader,’ to signify several people contacting the virus from one person.

The jump in cases was somewhat expected due to the aggressive testing over the past few days, with more than 600 samples taken. The situation prompted Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to convene a meeting with the Chief Secretary, Health Secretary, State Police Chief and the District Collector, to assess the situation.

Entry points sealed

All the three wards within the Poonthura region have been completely locked down, with the Coastal Police keeping an eye on those entering through the sea. All the 16 entry points to Poonthura have been sealed. In the evening, police commandos held route marches in the area, warning the people against venturing out. Those who disobey instructions will be forcibly sent to institutional quarantine. The District Administration, which declared the area as a containment zone on July 2, has now decided to provide free ration to each family in three wards.

The swab collection is being done across three centres - the community health centres in Poonthura and Valiyathura, as well as Ayush centre in Poonthura. The city Corporation had earlier this week set up a control room here to co-ordinate the containment efforts here. A team of close to 30 workers have been working tirelessly to disinfect and create awareness on social distancing norms.

“Initially, the control room got calls regarding crowding at a shop or a fish vending zone. We responded immediately and warned people against repeating it. Now, people have begun co-operating, as they have understood the gravity of the situation.

A disinfection team of 10 have disinfected houses of the people who have tested positive. We have also been carrying out mike announcements in all areas, telling people on how they can stay safe from the virus,” says Sony, Poonthura Health Inspector who heads the control room.

The authorities of the St.Thomas Church Poonthura have played a key role in awareness campaigns too over the past few days.

Volunteers

“A team of 40-50 youngsters from the area was set up as soon as the lockdown began. They have been carrying our awareness campaigns at the community level. A group from among them are also delivering essentials to the doorstep for people in need, to prevent them from stepping out. We used to have food parcels too for 100 days till July 3, but it had to be stopped considering the situation now. Another team is helping at the testing facilities,” Father Bevinson, Vicar of the Poonthura Church.

Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said that the number of tests in Poonthura will be further increased. More ambulances will also be deployed, he said after a meeting with political and religious leaders from the area on Wednesday evening.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 10:22:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/poonthura-turns-a-major-cluster/article32025067.ece

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