Over 4,400 passengers from high-risk countries passed through Kochi airport

District prepared to meet any challenge, says Minister P. Rajeeve

Ernakulam is set to ready 250 beds, including 150 in the private sector, after the Omicron variant of the coronavirus was reported in the district on Sunday.

Minister for Industries P. Rajeeve said the district was prepared to meet any challenge. He was chairing a meeting to take stock of the situation on Monday. Over 100 beds will be arranged at the COVID hospital at Ambalamugal, and they will be placed in cubicles.

Mr. Rajeeve said as many as 4,407 passengers from 12 countries designated as high-risk category had passed through the Kochi airport so far. Of them, 10 have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, among whom one was confirmed to have the Omicron variant.

Arrangements are in place at the Kochi airport for screening passengers from high-risk countries. Four teams of 24 members each under the supervision of the Health Department have been deployed for the purpose. Another 12 persons will also be put on duty. This is in addition to the eight airport staffers.

Passengers arriving at the airport are either put through rapid test or RT-PCR. While the result of the rapid test is known in 40 minutes, that of RT-PCR takes three hours. Passengers will be let outside the airport only on getting the results.

Those testing positive will be shifted to hospitals, and those returning negative result will be asked to go into home isolation. They will have to undergo testing yet again after eight days.

The Minister said testing would be made mandatory at ports too.

Vaccination campaign

An intense vaccination campaign will be held for three days from December 18 in panchayats that are lagging behind. A meeting of panchayat presidents will be held on Wednesday.

So far, 82.67% of the overall population in the district have been vaccinated, while it is 99.88% among those aged 60 years and above.

District Collector Jafar Malik, District Medical Officer V. Jayasree, Additional District Medical Officer S. Sreedevi, Vaccination Nodal Officer M.G. Sivadas, National Health Mission District Programme Manager Sajith John, Deputy Collector (Disaster Management) N.R. Vrinda Devi, and Panchayat Deputy Director K.J. Joy attended the meeting.

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