KOCHI: A medical board headed by the district medical officer K P Reetha has directed three MPs and two MLAs belonging to the Congress party to go on home quarantine after a Malappuram native, for whom the leaders had organised a protest at the Walayar checkpost bordering Tamil Nadu, tested positive for COVID-19. The medical board has also asked 33 journalists, political activists and police personnel who interacted with the patient to go on home quarantine.
MPs V K Sreekantan, Remya Haridas and T N Prathapan along with MLAs Shafi Parambil and Anil Akkara had offered food and drinking water to the Malappuram native, who had arrived from Chennai at the Walayar checkpost on May 9, and spent a whole day with him. All these elected representatives have been named as primary contacts of the patient.
The Malappuram native, 40, who tested positive on May 12 had begun his journey from Chennai along with a 10-member group on May 8 night and reached Walayar at 10.30 am the next morning. They had a group pass issued by the Tamil Nadu government but did not have a pass issued by the Kerala government. As the state officials denied them entry without producing a pass, the group members stayed at Walayar for 12 hours till 10.30 p.m. Getting information about the plight of the group, the Congress leaders rushed to the spot and launched a protest.
Meanwhile, the Malappuram native started vomiting and was moved to the isolation ward of the district hospital in Palakkad. His swab was sent for testing and the result, which came on May 12, confirmed that he was positive for COVID-19. The driver returned to Chennai and other members of the group went to Malappuram subsequently.
District medical officer KP Reetha has asked all those who were present at Walayar on May 9 to contact the office of the DMO. A review meeting convened by district collector D Balamurali decided to convene the medical board which consists of the superintendent of the district hospital, the nodal officers of the district hospital and the Ottappalam taluk hospital and physicians.
The contacts have been divided into primary high risk contacts and primary low risk contacts.
The Malappuram native who was working at a juice shop in Chennai suffered giddiness while waiting to complete the formalities at Walayar. The police personnel who shifted the youth to hospital were also classified in the primary high risk category and have been told to go into quarantine. The staff nurses who treated the youth at Walayar have also been classified in the primary high risk category and have been admitted to the isolation ward for 14 days.
Those who have been classified under the low risk category are the 139 stranded Keralites who were at the border on May 9. Officials, mediapersons and politicians were also classified as low risk and have been told to go into 14 days home quarantine. The swab samples of all the persons will be taken and sent for testing, said Reetha.
Congress MP VK Sreekantan alleged that the decision to send the Congress politicians into home quarantine was politically motivated. "The patient has not mentioned the names of any politician as his primary contacts. Earlier also, people who tested positive for COVID-19 had arrived at Walayar but at that time the health workers and police personnel were not sent on quarantine," he told The New Indian Express.