RANNI: Fear and anger are palpable in Ranni, currently the point of focus, where two new coronavirus cases were reported on Tuesday alone.
After the three-member family who returned from Italy and a few of their relatives were tested positive, the town in Pathanamthitta district is moving closer to a shutdown.
Faces of almost all you come across are covered in masks, yet you could read the panic in their eyes. It is quite evident.
Roads are deserted
There is much negativity in the air. Local residents mostly blame the Italy-based family for their plight and the officials for letting them slip through; they rue their luck, having endured the 2018 floods which battered the town. And they curse social media for spreading fake news adding to the confusion.
“The flood had shattered us mentally and financially, but we fought hard to survive. The case is different now. It’s with fear that we’re making every step, on each passing day. When we hear that a new case is reported from Ranni, we become anxious,” said T U Thomas, resident of Aythala.
The twin junctions at Ranni-Ittiyappara and Perumpuzha reflect their agony. They wore a deserted look. The shops have been remaining closed since Sunday morning. Some of them reopened on Tuesday only to pull down shutters after the confirmation of the new cases.
Pathanamthitta's Ranni town wears a deserted look after a family from the town tested positive for #Coronavirus. Currently, there are 12 active #COVID19 cases in Kerala.— The New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) March 10, 2020
Express video by @sanesh_TNIE.
READ: https://t.co/6qmP6Dm8nC pic.twitter.com/faRs9xiNnu
“Business is almost dead since Sunday. Nobody is coming. The shops at Perumpuzha are close to the Taluk Hospital where one of the family members of the couple who returned from Italy was given treatment initially. This created panic,” said Bijily N K of Kairali Bakers.
Most of the passengers from Ranni depend on private buses to reach nearby towns like Pathanamthitta. KSRTC buses conduct services to Erumeli and other areas, but residents of Ranni said some of them are not entering the bus stand near Perumpuzha. The private bus owners are forced to cancel the trips as there not enough passengers.
“Earlier, we used to conduct eight trips to Ranni from Pathanamthitta. However, from Sunday, only a few passengers are travelling. Hence, most buses have cut down the number of trips,” said Hemachandra Prasad, a staff of Venad bus service. Ratheesh Mohan, driver of Miyamol bus, said almost all drivers are now using face masks. “We’re following the instructions of our association,” he said.
Health Department’s alert
The health officials are frequently surveying Ranni area, especially Aythala, where cases are being reported.“We’ve collected all details of the people who had close contact as well as secondary contact with the Italy-based family. All the high-risk contacts are already quarantined. There is no need to panic,’ said Dr Abel, who was with the Health Department’s team which reached Aythala on Tuesday.
Bevco outlet closed
Considering the gravity of the situation, District Collector P B Nooh has ordered to close down the beverages outlet at Ranni -KSBCFL1-3008, till further notice.
GPS system for tracking
Authorities are using GPS system to track and monitor the movement of persons in home quarantine. The system helps the authorities contact the persons placed under observation.