Health officials rue fewer stops for trains

Herding passengers into just three stations increases chances of contact

While the health authorities have put in place yet another system for screening passengers arriving by trains as part of the COVID-19 containment measures, most rue the inadequate number of stops for the trains in the State.

Having only three stops in the State did not seem to be a practical solution when the need of the hour was to minimise travel and contacts, said a senior Health Department official.

Hence, it did not make sense to herd the passengers into just three stations when arrangements could have been made at one station each at all the districts through which the trains passed.

Senior health officials told The Hindu that three stops meant that more people would be travelling in clusters again to reach their destinations on a bus or taxi. Private vehicles too had to make unnecessary inter-district travel to take people home. For example, when a train was passing through Thrissur, Kottayam, and Pathanamthitta, it did not make sense to make the passengers get down in Ernakulam, screen them, and then send them on a bus or taxi to these districts.

While the inter-State travel by road had created problems in tracking the passengers, such problems were unlikely to happen on train. A district-wise list of passengers would have helped track each passenger.

AC coaches

Health authorities have also warned against using air-conditioned coaches for transporting people. “They are paying more for their tickets with the added disadvantage of catching the infection,” said a senior official.

The State government has conveyed these hitches to Railways and the Union Health Ministry.

As passengers would start arriving at the designated stations from Thursday, arrangements have been made at stations to screen them and disinfect baggage. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses and taxis have been arranged to take people to their home districts, where the health authorities will follow up with their quarantine.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 6:15:50 PM |

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