Vizhinjam residents step up vigil against COVID-19

Karma Sena volunteers use a thermal scanner to check the temperature of a person in Vizhinjam.  

Alarmed by the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Thiruvananthapuram district, the residents of densely-populated Vizhinjam have concluded that ‘self-defence’ is the best defence.

Under the aegis of the local parish, the local community has formed a volunteer group - christened ‘COVID-19 Karma Sena’ - to keep tabs on visitors to this coastal neighbourhood which is home to a bustling fishing harbour.

Armed with thermal scanners and hand sanitiser bottles, volunteers have stationed themselves at three entry points to the region to make sure that visitors are free of symptoms. ‘Karma Sena’ members describe their vigilance as an example of how a local community protects itself during the pandemic.

“In these times, it is our duty to protect ourselves. This is a neighbourhood which has a busy fishing harbour. A lot of people come and go. We had formed the ‘Karma Sena’ last year following the outbreak with around 75 volunteers. When the second wave struck this year, we revived it by roping in more volunteers. Our safety is primarily our responsibility,” said S. Cyril, convener of the team.

Teams rotated

Teams of five are rotated every two or three hours at the three entry points which include the approach to the harbour area and Thenoorkonam. Their work starts at 5 a.m. and goes up to 9 p.m. The names and phone numbers of strangers are noted down for future reference. People are encouraged to wear masks and follow the COVID-19 protocol.

Outside the local church too, the volunteers have been deployed to ensure that pandemic protocol requirements are fully met, said L. Sahayam, the parish secretary.

“As per the protocol, not more than 50 people are allowed inside the church at a time. We have introduced a system based on tokens. Volunteers are stationed outside the church with sanitiser and thermal scanners,” Mr. Sahayam.

“Same goes for the parish hall where weddings are held,” he added.

Thiruvananthapuram district has witnessed a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases during the second wave. The district has reported a daily caseload of over 3,000 new cases in six of the past 10 days.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 5:51:17 PM |

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