Mobile medical surveillance units to combat COVID-19

A soon-to-be launched mobile throat swab collection unit stationed at the Kozhikode Civil Station on Tuesday. K. Ragesh

A soon-to-be launched mobile throat swab collection unit stationed at the Kozhikode Civil Station on Tuesday. K. Ragesh  

Van-mounted medical surveillance units would soon help the government track down COVID-19 infections in remote localities in the State.

Doctors, paramedics, nurses and lab technicians kitted out in protective gear would fan out across the State in the mobile units and check on families in out-of-the way areas and with zero access to health care.

They would focus on tribal regions and islets locked in by vast backwater lagoons for starts. Soon, the units would cover other parts of the State, including urban areas.


Officials hope the move would help the government zero in on new clusters and identify potential hotspots as Kerala relaxes its lockdown restrictions to clamber out of the nearly three-month period of economic stasis.

The units would work in tandem with the law enforcement, local body officials, neighbourhood watch groups, disaster management authorities and authorised volunteers involved in pandemic-control activities.

The government has put 19 such units on the road. Each district would have at least one at its disposal while those with a higher number of hotspots would have a minimum of two vans.

CM’s request to PM

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow States to claim the money they have already spent for food, lodging, treatment and travel for migrant workers from the PM Cares Fund.

In a letter, Mr Vijayan said the Centre had stipulated that State governments could draw from the fund in advance to underwrite arrangements for the welfare of migrant workers during the lockdown. The Centre is silent on whether it would compensate the funds already spent for the purpose by States such as Kerala.

State’s plight

The condition for disbursal of cash from the reserve should depend on the population of migrant workers and not on 2011 Census figures and number of COVID-19 infections.

Kerala had to spend hugely to afford the free stay, food, treatment and travel fare of 4.85 lakh migrant workers. However, it was unable to reclaim the cash from the Centre.

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Printable version | Aug 15, 2020 5:21:39 PM |

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