Curbs on travellers, public events

Testing to be increased as district gears up to combat pandemic

The Kozhikode district administration is intensifying steps to contain COVID-19 in the wake of the surge in fresh cases and the high test positivity rate (TPR), the number of people testing positive for the virus per 100 samples, here.

Public events and gatherings will be regulated to reduce the spread of infection and more people would be vaccinated. A meeting of elected representatives in panchayats and Health Department officials held here on Thursday decided to increase the number of tests in the coming days. The district would be divided into three regions, depending on the intensity of infection and the number of cases being reported. More sectoral magistrates would be appointed to enforce the pandemic protocol. Over 300 such officials would be panned out across the district. If people are not willing to obey their directions, police would be roped in.

The district had been reporting a high TPR in the past few days. On Saturday and Sunday, it went above 9%. The active caseload too is high here with over 5,111 people under treatment.

Local bodies have been given a target on the number of people to be given the jab per month. Police personnel would be deployed to ensure that people are wearing face masks, observing social distancing and frequently using hand wash or hand sanitizers. Those who are driving vehicles alone too would be asked to wear face masks. The number of travellers would be restricted to the number of seats in each vehicle. Private organisations, autorickshaw/taxi drivers, people employed in shopping malls, hotel and restaurant staff, school and college teachers and those who attended poll campaigns should be asked to undergo tests.

It is learnt that those who attended the meeting raised concerns about the people’s lethargy towards observing the protocols. They stressed the need for going back to the initial days of the pandemic when their enforcement was strictly monitored. Thousands of people had participated in election-related meetings recently. More people are found to be participating in weddings. The number of participants in public events would be controlled in the coming days and it was suggested to upload their details in the COVID portal. A monitoring cell had been formed for the purpose. The meeting also decided to resume the earlier practice of preparing a contact list of those who are infected with the virus.

District Collector S. Sambasiva Rao told the media that the enforcement machinery of panchayats would be fully involved in the containment activities. More police patrolling teams would be deployed, he said.

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