NAGAPATTINAM: A mass sensitisation drive is underway in Karaikal fishing hamlets after over 100 COVID positive cases were reported in from the villages. The number accounts for one-third of cases in the district. Three fisherwomen from Kilinjalmedu, TR Pattinam-Pattinachery and Karaikalmedu died in the past three days.
"There was a jump in cases on Friday and a surprising drop on Saturday. We hope it will come under control," said K Mohanraj, Deputy Director of Health Services (Immunisation).
Mobile sample collection vans are being used by health services and 500 samples collected in the past one week. Eighty-nine cases were reported from Karaikalmedu and Kilinjalmedu and the two villages have been declared as containment zones.
The lack of social distancing in Karaikal fishing harbour was the cause of the outbreak, officials said. "The fishers, who initially believed that they are highly immune to diseases, also thought they would be immune to coronavirus as well. There has been a behavioural change in recent days.
We are receiving information about symptoms in families faster than before. We are sensitising through fisher panchayats and the administration," said M Raju, a medical officer in Karaikalmedu primary health centre.
Police are at the forefront of sensitisation as they gain the attention of fishers.
"Our personnel are reaching out to hamlets almost every day and spreading the message. We are conducting foot patrols to make sure we are not leaving behind anyone in communication. We are utilising the community public address system to good effect," said KL Viravallabane, Superintendent of Police (South Karaikal district).
With cases continue in fishing villages, sources hinted that the 10-day temporary ban on fishing which was to end on Monday would be extended.