THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finally, the state Health Department has encountered a problem that they dreaded the most-- local transmission of COVID-19.
The department, which has now swung into action to avoid any chances of community transmission, is also probing the reasons behind the local transmission.
As per sources, the department will examine whether the airport surveillance was not up to the mark or if the field-level health staff couldn’t identify the family in Pathanamthitta that came from Italy.
“Kerala had won accolades for its efforts to avoid any chances of local and community transmissions when the first three positive cases were reported from Thrissur, Alappuzha, and Kasaragod. It was because the Wuhan returnees were identified at the airport itself and quarantined,” said an officer of the Health Department.
“But in this case, serious lapses might have happened. Either the passengers didn’t produce the self-reporting form at the Immigration Counter at Cochin International Airport or they might have skipped the screening entirely,” said the officer.
The department is also worried that neither the Asha, Kudumbasree workers nor field-level health staff could identify the returnees and pass the information to a higher level.
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“Upon inquiry, the returnees told us that they were unaware of such a stipulation to provide self-reporting forms. They also told us that no one approached them at the airport to undergo health screening. This will have to be verified,” said the officer.
Meanwhile, an officer who is part of the rapid response team said that the Immigration officials should behave more responsibly as they should ensure the self-reporting forms of each passenger arriving from COVID-19 notified countries before their exit from the airport.
‘Strain of COVID-19 virus in Italy is strong’
The department is said to be worried about the strain of COVID-19 virus. As per sources, Italy is the worst-hit country in Europe as it resulted in the death of 197 persons due to local transmission.
The department fears that the strain of COVID-19 in Italy is very much similar to that of the virus that circulated in China.