IFFK: 11 delegates test Covid positive

Health officials have tough time as scores of delegates throng testing centres

Published: 09th February 2021 06:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2021 06:38 AM   |  A+A-

The crowd at the registration counter for antigen testing at Tagore Theatre | B P Deepu

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Chalachitra Academy’s (KSCA) decision to conduct free antigen tests for volunteers and delegates attending the 25th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) has overburdened the health authorities who are already on a tight schedule of testing, vaccination and other responsibilities. On Monday, 11 of the 623 delegates screened for Covid tested positive. 

Eight healthcare teams deployed by the District Medical Office (DMO) at Tagore Theatre – the main venue of IFFK – had a hard time as scores of delegates thronged the spot for Covid testing. According to officials, it is impossible to cover all delegates before the beginning of the festival as they do not have additional teams to spare. The ideal decision would have been to ask the delegates to come with Covid-19 negative certificates, a health official said.  

“Healthcare workers are already overburdened. We have been multitasking for a while and now there is pressure to finish the vaccination drive. In addition to Covid duty, the healthcare staff are providing care to non-Covid patients. Daily positive cases are going up. Considering this, it’s not ideal to use our resources to test delegates from other districts. People would have benefited had the academy avoided free testing for delegates,” said a DMO official.  

KSCA secretary Ajoy Chandran said the academy is hoping to ramp up the number of testing in the coming two days to ensure all participants are tested. “We are organising this event under the guidance of the health authorities. This is a huge event and it’s an experiment for us as we don’t have any experience conducting a festival amid a pandemic. This may become a model for others,” he said. He said KSCA is optimistic of completing the testing of delegates from Thiruvananthapuram district by Tuesday.  
“On the opening day, Wednesday, we will be testing people from other districts. There are volunteers and committee members and academy staff too who need to be tested. The number of people getting tested may cross 2,500,” he added.


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