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Triple lockdown recommended at Poonthura, door to door swab collection to be launched

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With concerns of community spread of COVID-19 rising in the state capital, health authorities here have recommended a triple lockdown at Poonthura, which is fast turning into an epicentre of the pandemic. According to sources, Influenza Like Illness cases has spiked in Poonthura and adjacent wards prompting the authorities to go for a total shutdown in the area.

According to official sources, a door to door swab collection drive would be launched at Poonthura as the local transmission is becoming more evident.

Though restrictions are put in place, the authorities are finding it difficult to impose social distancing norms in the densely populated coastal suburb.

“With a lot of unlinked cases getting reported in the district without known sources, Poonthura is becoming a matter of concern for us. We will be going for a total shutdown soon,” said an official.

An official of the District Medical Officer (DMO) said that an aggressive testing drive would be launched at Poonthura to keep a tab on the possible community spread. Being a hub of fishing activities, Poonthura is a centre of local business with a lot of cash transactions, which could increase the chance of a community spread.

“The current restrictions will not be enough at Poonthura. People are venturing out unnecessarily. There are many lottery traders who are auto-drivers too. Also, we have noticed a spike in the number of Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) cases and the number of OPs at Poonthura community health centre is also going up,” said the official.

The authorities are planning to launch aggressive testing at Poonthura by setting up a temporary swab collection centre for antigen testing. However, the lack of human resources has also become a major challenge for health authorities. “Around 13 mobile lab teams have been deployed in the district for swab collection in containment zones. We will be assigning more vehicles in Poonthura. We are planning to mobilise more human resources for swab collection,” said the official.

According to authorities, the antigen test is far better and accurate than the antibody test deployed by the authorities at airports. “Currently we cannot say there is a community spread. If the situation is uncontrollable the mortality rate and the reporting of cases would have gone up. Now definitely there is a local transmission and gradually this would lead to a community spread,” said the official.

The official said that the only way to keep the situation under control is by continuing the test, trace and isolate method without fail.

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