Kodagu’s efforts to combat COVID-19 come in for praise

Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy and SP Suman D. Pennekar at a containment area in Kodagu for checking the spread of COVID-19.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Kodagu’s efforts to contain the spread of novel Coronavirus have been admired nationally since it is one among two districts in the entire country where no new COVID-19 case had surfaced for 28 continuous days even as cases had been soaring in other States, including in many parts of Karnataka as well.

The first case in Kodagu was reported on March 19 and there had been zero cases subsequently. Besides Kodagu, Mahe in Puducherry had also reported nil cases since over four weeks.

Joint Secretary (Health) Luv Agarwal, while citing Kodagu’s COVID-19 combat efforts during his media briefing, lauded the containment efforts and felt that such results can also be expected in other districts if such efforts were replicated.

The Centre’s appreciation has boosted the morale of Kodagu district administration, which, under the direction of Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy, got into a “battle mode” almost a month before the first case was reported and when the virus was causing havoc in neighbouring China and spreading fast in Europe.

How did the district administration fight COVID-19?

The biggest challenge before it was the surveillance on the border with Kerala, which had a spike in cases, particularly from Kasaragod and Kannur areas. The health authorities started screening the people entering Kodagu from Kerala and later sealed some key border check-posts after the cases soared in the neighbouring State.

Sources in the Health Department told The Hindu that awareness programmes on COVID-19 that took off in February and surveillance on the borders helped the administration to confidently combat the disease.

Another reason for containing the spread of the contagion was the quick tracing of primary and secondary contacts of the first positive case (Kondangeri village) and the lockdown in 3-km radius of village to which the patient belonged to and its buffer area.

“None of the residents were allowed to step out of their village. All essentials were supplied to them by the district administration. After the two-week quarantine, they were under observation for any symptoms. Such containment efforts with round-the-clock monitoring with police patrol helped us to a large extent,” says Kodagu District Health Officer K. Mohan.

Also, the administration’s launch of e-commerce portal under #KodaguFightsCorona for delivering essential goods to the people’s doorsteps (to stop them from moving around) and the strict enforcement of the lockdown while easing the curbs three days a week for procuring essential supplies, and surveillance of fever cases on the district borders are the other efforts which could have worked in Kodagu’s favour.

The efforts of the district police, led by Superintendent of Police Suman D. Pennekar, in reaching out the ration and other essentials to the poor and migrant workers also helped to keep them indoors.

Also, 15 attendees of Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin were identified and all of them were placed in hospital quarantine. They are now in 15-day home quarantine.

Around 400 medical teams are on the look-out for fever cases with door-to-door surveillance and reporting the suspected cases to the isolation ward.

With cases soaring in Mysuru, the administration, as a preventive measure, has decided to screen those transporting vegetables, fruits and other essentials in trucks from Mysuru to Kodagu from Monday.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 11:14:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/kodagus-efforts-to-combat-covid-19-come-in-for-praise/article31389374.ece

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