The Nilgiris district gears up for surge in COVID-19 cases

With the recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Nilgiris, the Health Department is to take over two COVID-19 care centers in Udhagamandalam and Coonoor to ensure that patients have access to beds in the coming weeks.

While the number of daily infections was less than ten each day, with the number being as low as two in the last month, there was a sudden increase in the number over the last two days, with a recent high of 28 infections being reported in the Nilgiris on Wednesday.

While less than 75 persons are currently undergoing treatment in the Nilgiris, the Health Department expects the number to rise in the coming days, and officials said that a total of 1,040 beds were already kept ready.

Deputy Director of Health Services, the Nilgiris district, P. Balusamy, told The Hindu the recent increase in cases was reported primarily among residents who had a travel history to other districts as well as their primary and secondary contacts. So far, there had been no confirmed cases of any person from the Nilgiris contracting the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2, the officials added.

New rules

From Thursday, the Nilgiris district administration announced new rules to minimise the chance of spread of COVID-19 among visitors and local residents. Officials from the Horticulture Department said that visitors would be allowed inside the parks, gardens as well as other tourist spots here only if they showed vaccination certificates.

“People who do not show proof of being vaccinated at least once are not being allowed to enter the garden,” said Assistant Director of Horticulture (Nilgiris), M. Radhakrishnan.

Northay Kuttan, president of the Pagalkod Mund Eco-Development Committee, that managed the Ninth Mile Shooting Spot along with the Forest Department, said they were enforcing this particular rule for the last few weeks. “Enforcing this rule has proven to be difficult, as most tourists pick arguments with the staff when we insist on the vaccine certificates,” he said.

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