Kottayam: Restrictions have been re-imposed in Kottayam after two people from the district tested positive for COVID-19. Kottayam, which was earlier marked as green zone with least number of cases, has now been categorised as orange zone.
The disease was confirmed in a 37-year-old loading worker of the Kottayam market and a 31-year-old male nurse. Both of them have been shifted to the isolation ward of the Kottayam Medical College Hospital.
While the loading worker is from Vijayapuram in the district, the male nurse is from Panachikkad.
Panachikkad and Vijayapuram panchayats, and four wards (20, 29, 36 and 37) of the Kottayam municipality have been declared as hotspots. The Kottayam market has been shut.
Contacts of COVID-19 patients
The nurse works at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. He reached Panachikkad from Thiruvananthapuram on March 24. He had travelled with a friend in a car. He came down with fever on April 22 and the virus infection was confirmed on Thursday.
The worker had unloaded goods from a lorry the other day. The driver of the lorry had tested positive for COVID-19. The test results of his aide in the lorry are awaited.
Authorities are trying to make a contact list of the two infected people in Kottayam.
District Medical Officer Dr Jacob Varghese said that they are trying to track how both of them got infected.
The body fluids of all the loading workers in the Kottayam market will be sent for testing, the health department has said.
The infected worker had been to the Kottayam market on Thursday as well. Though the samples of the eight other workers were sent for testing, none of them have the illness.
The friend, who travelled with the male nurse from Thiruvananthapuram to Kottayam, is also under observation. His body fluids have been collected for testing.
The hotspot tag will be taken off only when it is confirmed that those in the contact list of the infected do not have illness.
Police surveillance in the district has been intensified and more restrictions imposed. A case will be filed against those who flout the instructions. Fine will also be levied.
Police started conducting checks at all main centres from Thursday night.
Cops were put on guard duty at all roads leading to the market, border areas of hotspot wards and panchayats.
Kottayam roads bore a deserted look by Thursday evening.
What can function in the district
* Food production, sale, and distribution.
* All health services (including Ayush). Also, Veterinary services
* Agricultural-related works, including cattle, poultry, and fisheries
* Government offices, that fall in the ambit of essential services, can function with full strength. Other offices with only 33 per cent workforce.
* Courier service, banks, including those in the private sector, RBI-recognised non-banking financial corporations
* Cooperative credit societies, insurance companies, MGNREGS, cargo movement, special economic zones, industrial estates, industrial units outside the town limits.
* Irrigation projects in the rural areas, road construction, building construction, completion of construction activities in urban areas (workers from outside the region will not be allowed)
* Shops selling construction materials such as cement, rod and bricks
* Shops that sell only educational books.
Entry to the 20th ward (cathedral), 29th ward (Kodimatha north), 36th ward (Chingavanam), and 37th ward (Palamoodu) of the Kottayam municipality and the two panchayats will be completely regulated.
20th ward - From the Collectorate to Irayilkadavu, Chandakadavu, KSRTC bus stand and nearby areas via children's park road are included. Vayaskara Kunnumpuram is also part of it.
29th ward - From Irayilkadavu at Kodimatha north till Karapuzha new bridge via Kodimatha bridge. Old boat jetty, Kodimatha boat jetty, and west police station also included.
36th ward - Pannimattom, Gomathy junction, Mavilangu area. Puthanpalam, Moolamkulam, Polchira and Meenchira via railway station.
37th ward - Chingavanam seminary junction, mission church, Nattuva and Chingavanam junction included. Commercial establishments will remain shut in Chingavanam junction.
There are 19 wards in the Vijayapuram panchayat. Among these, regulations will be tightened in five wards. Of the 23 wards in Panachikkad panchayat, strict regulations will be imposed in 15 wards.
Travel and entry into areas declared as hotspots will be completely regulated. Only essential services will be allowed. No MGNREGS work will be permitted. Fish-meat shops will not be allowed to function
Strict regulations have been placed for three days. Health department and the police have instructed people not to venture out for non-essential reasons. They have been asked to strictly adhere to government instructions and maintain personal hygiene.
Kottayam market shut, to be disinfected
As a preventive measure, the Kottayam market has been temporarily shut. The fire force will disinfect the market on Friday. Merchants and vehicle owners have been asked not to bring in goods to the market. Authorities will decide on Friday on extending the regulations in the market.
Kottayam Collector P K Sudheer Babu said that there was no situation that required the market to be shot for long periods.
"Majority of the labourers tested negative for the disease. So, there is no obstacle in opening the market. However, if more samples turn positive, we will have to think of an alternative system. The cargo movement in the district will not be affected," the Collector said.
Labourers, who worked with the loading workers, will also be made to undergo medical examination.
A team of officials led by the Collector, district police chief G Jayadev, ADM Anil Oommen and district medical officer Jacob Varghese conducted checks at the market on Thursday afternoon. They also held talks with the leaders of the merchants and labour outfits. After which it was decided to shut the market completely.
The police blocked all roads to market using barricades. Those inside the market were asked to leave. Cops have been deployed on guard duty.
Earlier, three COVID-19 cases were reported in Kottayam. They were a couple from Chengalam and a nurse. All three of them were successfully treated and the virus transmission was prevented from spreading to others.