Coronavirus hotspots: Kasaragod accounts for half of Kerala’s positive cases
Kasaragod has high population density and a low doctor to population ratio compared to the rest of the state.Updated: Apr 01, 2020 15:05 IST
Nearly half of Kerala’s total coronavirus cases--241-- are from Kasaragod, which is one of the ten hotspots of Covid-19 pandemic in the country. The north Kerala district has a high number of expatriates from the middle-east and its poor medical infrastructure combined with slack surveillance is feared to have pushed the coastal district to infamy.
Out of 128 coronavirus cases in Kasaragod, 90 are Gulf-returnees and their contacts, but some others have no travel or contact history, which is adding to the district administration’s concerns. The district is in complete lockdown and two senior IPS and IAS officials are camping there to check the possibility of community spread of the virus.
Kasaragod’s high population density (13 lakh people for a small district) and a poor doctor to population ratio of 1: 1500 as compared to 1: 300 for the rest of the state, might have aided in the spread of the virus, say officials.
“We literally pleaded foreign-returnees to remain in their homes for at least 3-4 weeks. Many followed our advice but some flouted it, making the district pay a heavy price. We are fighting with all our might to contain the spread,” said State Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan, who himself hails from the district.
The district had reported some glaring cases of violations including that of an alleged smuggler who jumped quarantine and transmitted the disease to many. After his case came to light, customs officials found out that he had made 14 trips to the middle east in last three months. Later, district collector Sajith Babu impounded his passport and registered a case against him.
According to the district administration, at least 8000 people came to the district from the Gulf since February 15 and they were put into home quarantine before many of them slipped out. At least 60 per cent of Dubai returned Kasaragod residents were living or working in Naif, a crowded commercial and residential area in Dubai, which is one of the Covid-19 hotspots in the middle-east.