By P.T. Bopanna
The Kodagu (Coorg) district administration headed by deputy commissioner Annies Joy (in picture) has to be commended for raising up to the challenge posed by the coronavirus, close on the heels of a 35-year-old man testing positive for COVID-19.
While the district administration has ordered the closure of hotels, resorts and homestays, the worrying part is that nobody is in a position to monitor the situation in over 4,500 unregistered homestays which does not come under the government scanner.
No sooner the resident of Kondageri village near Murnad town in Virajpet taluk who recently returned from Dubai tested positive, the deputy commissioner announced a slew of measures to tackle the situation. The best part was that she went on television to calm down the residents who were in a state of panic.
To contain the coronavirus, the district administration produced a flowchart detailing the route take by the resident of Mottimotte village from Dubai to his native place, to warn the co-passengers and others who could have come in contact with the patient.
The native place of the patient who tested positive for COVID-19, has been declared as a “containment zone” and the residents have been asked to stay at home and not to interact with others. The village has about 75 families consisting of 306 persons.
Further, a buffer zone of five km from the village has been identified and the persons in the area would be kept under observation.
Besides, an isolation ward with 100 beds has been set aside and 50-bed quarantine had also been kept ready at the Kodagu Institute of Medical Sciences in Madikeri.
As a preventive measure, Section 144 (3) CrPC has been imposed across the district till March 31. The orders prohibit public gathering of five or more persons.
The DC has ordered stringent screening across Kodagu-Kerala border villages to prevent movement of virus-affected people into the district.
The death of over 10 crows near Napoklu and various other species of birds in the nearby forest areas has led to panic in the area.
While the district administration has put in place a mechanism to prevent the spread of the virus, in reality this would be ineffective in view of the fact there is no monitoring mechanism to regulate the situation in unregistered homestays.
this reporter has been repeatedly warning the district administration to close
down unregistered homestays, no action had been taken in view of the fact that
owners of these homestays bribe the officials to look the other way. Moreover,
some of the high-end unregistered homestays in remote areas host foreign
guests, who are found to be the main carriers of the virus.