With 95 people from just two old-age homes in Kerala testing positive for Covid-19, strict restrictions have been put in place at 577 such establishments across the state.
Three people died of the viral disease — known to pose a higher risk for the elderly — at the homes in Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam over the last week. The rest of the cases emerged after the other residents were tested at these establishments run by Catholic nuns.
At the Thiruvananthapuram home, the 35 cases included three nuns.
Health Minister K K Shailaja said some old-age homes had flouted the suggestions for “reverse quarantine”— referring to the isolation of vulnerable persons before they have a chance of contracting the virus.
“We have asked all old-age homes to remain completely secluded from outside. Residents should not go out, and others from outside should not be allowed entry. Institutions have to ensure that there is no virus transmission among the residents. Strict action will be initiated against the authorities of the centres if the guidelines are violated,” said the minister.
Shailaja said preventive measures had been taken at all old-age homes in the state. “Only one person will be allowed to go out from old-age homes. They should not contact other inmates. In both institutions, the virus has been brought home by those who went out,’’ said the minister.
The state has 16 government-run old-age homes and 561 private ones. Most of the residents are indisposed and have underlying medical conditions, making infection an even more significant challenge.
For instance, among those testing positive at the Thiruvananthapuram home, many are bed-ridden and even suffer from mental disorders.
A high prevalence of lifestyle diseases and a large share of elderly people in the population have been major concerns for Kerala during the pandemic. The state has advised reverse quarantine for all those aged above 65.
Kerala on Saturday reported 1,129 new cases. Of them, 880 got infected through direct contact.
Meanwhile, the situation in the state capital district worsened after clusters continued to report new cases. Of the 259 cases reported in the district, 241 were due to local transmission.
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