THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Poonthura, an otherwise quiet coastal hamlet in the state capital, has suddenly become the centre of attention due to local transmission of coronavirus. A day after the health department confirmed super spread in Poonthura, its adjacent Manikyavilakom and Puthenpally wards were declared as critical containment zones. Restrictions in those areas will be more stringent than in the containment zones.
Of the 95 cases reported in the capital on Thursday, 92 were due to local contact including four with unknown sources of infection. Poonthura reported 77 new local spread cases.
Because of the alarming situation, the government is planning to set up dwelling units for reverse quarantine in the area.The situation in Poonthura first came to light when a fisher from the locality who sells fish at the Kumarichantha, a market at Ambalathara, tested positive. A wholesale fish vendor, he contracted the virus during a trip to Kanyakumari and transmitted the virus to more than 20 people.
“Thiruvananthapuram reported 213 cases in the last three days. Of this, 194 got infected through local contacts. In areas including Poonthura, where super spread has occurred, the ambit of sample collection and testing has been increased,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
Among Thursday’s new patients, one was from near Valiyathura. A cop from Panavoor, who got infected on the day, is also linked to Poonthura. Plans are being made to do rapid tests on 6,000 families in the critical containment zones. Minister Kadakampally Surendran said maximum number of tests will be done in Poonthura. “We’ve sufficient kits and can do close to 600 tests daily. We need to identify the cases to bring the situation under control,” he told TNIE.
Considering the special situation in coastal areas, where the number of people living inside a house is relatively higher, a strategy will be adopted to protect those who need reverse quarantine. “One suggestion before the government is to arrange dwelling facilities for those who need reverse quarantine. For that, a consensus is needed. Discussions are on,” the CM said.
Meanwhile, Vallakadavu, Beemapally, Beemapally East, Valiyathura and Muttathara regions have been declared buffer zones. “In critical containment zones, people can leave their houses only for food or due to health-related issues. Bank and financial institutions will not function. Coastal police and coast guard will ensure that no one leaves the area for fishing. There had been some issues with convincing the public in Poonthura. Even on Wednesday evening, before the commandos were deployed, people could be seen in groups. Now the situation is under control,” said a district administration official.