THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the number of active Covid-19 cases in Kerala crossed the 100-mark once again on Sunday, questions linger whether complacency among various departments has resulted in the recent spike. While the state government is putting up a brave face in public, it appears a different story altogether within. Sources said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had lashed out against a lowering of guard and a lack of inter-departmental coordination -- especially in data sharing -- during a state-level assessment meeting last Tuesday.
The CM was displeased with the complacency that had apparently set in within the state machinery regarding prevention and management of Covid-19, sources said. TNIE understands that he had warned the departments concerned and the respective district collectors.“The state has contained the virus successfully. But it seems the situation will not be the same in the coming days. That’s because there is a considerable lack of surveillance. It is also noticed that sharing of information between departments is not that effective,” he said during the meeting. The latest numbers appear to buttress those fears.
CM expressed worry over lack of data sharing of those crossing checkposts
On Sunday alone, 14 new cases were reported even as the state began gearing up to allow more relaxations after the Centre extended the lockdown until May 31. The number of patients had dipped to 16 on May 8, but cases have been going up since then. As on Sunday, 101 persons are under treatment. The CM, sources said, cited a couple of examples to underscore his observation. One pertained to the complaint regarding the sharing of details of those crossing checkposts with the local bodies and police stations concerned.
The other concerned major discrepancies between the data provided from checkposts and district medical offices. He also raised a pregnant woman’s ordeal at the Kochi airport. According to him, the Ernakulam Control Room, as promised earlier, failed to make the arrangements necessary on arrival which created hardships for the lady. It is learnt that the Pinarayi’s displeasure related mainly to the inadequate arrangements at checkposts for real-time sharing of data on returnees. The absence of the same made it difficult for the health department to trace contacts in a couple of cases.
“For data to reach the concerned, there must be coordination between the checkpost, district administration and various departments. The same is applicable to those entering the state via other means. If there is any problem in coordination or data sharing, it has to be fixed at the earliest,” he CM said during the review meeting. The CM’s discontent comes at a time when there are reports that around 50 per cent of the returnees who entered the state via checkposts are from places declared as red zones.
One set of statistics reveals that 60, 612 people reached the state till Sunday, with 55, 086 of them arriving through checkposts. Of the 96 new cases reported since May 8, 72 are returnees from abroad and other states. The first infected case among expats was reported on May 10 and 35 of them have tested positive so far. Among the latest positive cases, Malappuram reported four, Palakkad, Kozhikode and Kannur two each, and Kollam, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kasargod reported one each.While two arrived from abroad (Kuwait and the UAE), 10 came from other states (seven from Tamil Nadu and three from Maharashtra).
The patient in Ernakulam is an Uttar Pradesh native who had come from Maldives. A healthcare worker from Kollam is among the new patients.