KOLLAM: In the wake of suspected Covid-19 community spread in bordering Tenkasi, the police and forest departments on Wednesday strengthened security measures at the Kollam-Tamil Nadu border. Puliyankudi in Tenkasi, which shares its border with Kollam, has been reporting a rise in Covid cases over the past few days. It was in this context that steps to limit the entry of people and vehicles into the district from the other side of the border were tightened. In a preliminary inspection, the authorities have identified as many as 23 people who came in direct contact with the Kulathupuzha native, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday. Swab samples have been collected from all of them for testing.
However, the district is in panic over the possibility of a community transmission.
As the 31-year-old patient is mentally unstable, the health officials are finding it difficult to get details from him, said Dr R Sreelatha, District Medical Officer (DMO). Following the directives of the district administration, a complete lockdown has been imposed on Thenmala, Aryankavu, and Kulathupuzha panchayats. As the patient’s statement had revealed that he had travelled to Tenkasi via the forest, Forest Minister K Raju has directed the district forest officer to seal the area and heighten security at all regions that connect the district with Tenkasi.
“More police personnel have been deployed at the check post to strengthen the inspection of cargo vehicles. It is learnt that people stranded there are trying to reach the district through these cargo vehicles,” said Kollam rural SP Harishankar. “Police officers at the checkpoint will note down details of the vehicle crossing the district. They will also ensure if every person to enter the district has returned,” he added.
It may be noted that the patient’s mother, who is still in Puliyankudi, has tested negative.
His uncle, with whom the patient used to stay, is currently under hospital observation. Though his first test result came negative, he is still kept under isolation as he could be deemed safe only after the second test, said Lilabeevi P, Kulathupuzha panchayat president.
Lorry driver booked
Kollam rural SP Harishankar said a lorry driver was booked from Aryankavu checkpost on Wednesday as he was found transporting two TN natives to Kerala. The duo was found hiding behind the fruit boxes the lorry was carrying. After seizing the vehicle, both of them were sent back to Tamil Nadu.