Sunday, January 10, 2021

No checking, monitoring of travellers by road to Kerala

In about three weeks, it will be one year since India reported its first COVID-19 case. That was on January 30, 2020 - a student of Wuhan University who returned to Kerala tested positive. 

Unlike many other countries, in India, the rise and the drop in the number of positive cases per day has been gradual. The peak was on September 17, when the country saw as many as 97,894 people testing positive. Yesterday, it was 18,222. The following is a screenshot from the NDTV website.

There have been 150,570 deaths out of 1,041,4417 positive cases. That is 1.45%. Worldwide, it's 1,919,357 deaths out of 89,209,954 positive cases - 2.15%

The following table gives the comparative figures. It's a Google News compilation by collating data from Wikipedia, The New York Times and JHU.

India is one country in the top bracket that has been showing a consistent decline over the past two months. (Probably, Italy too, to some extent.) I don't know whether that has anything to do with the very different sort of lockdown we had. It lasted in varying degrees of toughness for as long as eight months.

The strictest phase was the initial one - from March 25 to June 7, 2020. After that, there was a series of, what was called, 'unlocks', that lasted till November 30.

TRIP TO KERALA 

I, along with my wife, her brother, mother and niece, reached her home town on Friday evening around 7 pm. We drove down. We began our journey from Bengaluru in the morning around 5.

Prior to that, we registered our particulars on the designated government websites of Tamil Nadu (the state through which we transited) and of Kerala (our destination state). 

However, nowhere en route -- neither at Attibele (the point of entry to Tamil Nadu) nor at Walayar (the point of entry to Kerala) -- were we stopped to have our credentials as interstate travellers checked. Many of my friends who travelled by road to Kerala in the past one month, had the same experience.

This was not the case a few months ago. There was strict monitoring at these border check-posts. Travellers were continuously monitored by local area civic officials. My friends, who had travelled earlier, used to tell me how they kept receiving calls from health department officials, police officials and government doctors; and told about the need to stay at home, and to watch out for symptoms.

Now, the only travellers who are checked are the ones who come via flights. At the arriving airport they need to declare their travel and contact details, and are told to be in quarantine for seven days.

In compliance with the State government regulations, we are in quarantine for a week.

I am not sure why there has been such a relaxation. One reason could be that the situation in Kerala has been improving, though very slowly, after it hit a peak in October. 

The second reason could be that people have gotten used to the new lifestyle that is dictated by the safety guidelines. 

The third reason could be that people who come to Kerala by road are mostly from the two neighbouring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, where the cases have dropped significantly. So the probability of them carrying the virus could be less.

NEED TO BE CAUTIOUS

The state is still seeing quite a high number of fresh cases daily. It's averaging around 5,000. It peaked in October when it was around 7,000 to 8,000.

When we look at the spread of this disease, it's quite difficult to see a pattern across regions. There are a number of variables that are influencing the rate of infection.

And now to make matters worse, we have seen a more virulent form of the virus wreaking havoc, especially in the UK. Some of my doctor friends have been telling me they don't know if the virus that's circulating in India itself can mutate in the coming months.

Even if the situation is getting better, it would be prudent to be cautious.

15 comments:

  1. Hi Pradeep - well I'm glad you're safe ... the situation everywhere is very uncertain - as your last sentence says ... it'd be prudent to be cautious for a while yet. Take care and all the best to you and your family - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Pradeep - Thank you for this very informative post. I'm glad to read that India's COVID cases have been improving. It is great that you have been able to do some travel again. I agree that if we all remain prudent we will soon see the other side of this. I'm greatly looking forward to that day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Donna - Thank you. We are extremely cautious.

      Delete
  3. Hari OM
    Seconded!!! As you'll be aware, things here in the UK are a total mess. Sadly, too many folk are not really taking this new lockdown too seriously; there is a complacency and, I guess, lockdown-fatigue. However, now that police are starting to proprely act and indeed to execute fines, perhaps there will be notice taken of the deep need to comply. I have no intentions of going anywhere anytime soon! YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Yamini - Lockdown brings hardship. There was so much of criticism of India shutting down. It's a tough choice. You are damned if you do; you are damned if you don't. It's unfortunate that there some people aren't taking the restrictions seriously. It's better to adjust in the short term to gain big in the long term. Hope it all gets better soon.

      Delete
  4. It's nice to hear that India seems to have gotten the virus under control. The relaxation of requirements seems like it's going well.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Even though the number of positive cases are shrinking we have to be careful ourselves and not drop our guard.

    ReplyDelete
  6. In our area, people who wear masks outside have become the minority! All sort of functions from marriages to baby showers are being organized - even in our own family circles. To avoid the crowd, I go early just to wish them and come out in a few minutes. I hear I am being criticized for this, but this is one critisism I am glad about :)

    Destination Infinity

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rajesh - You are doing the right thing. We too are as careful as possible.

      Delete
  7. COVID has certainly stirred things up globally and the impact it's had on certain countries is quite mind blowing. One of the benefits of being so far away in Australia is that we could lock ourselves away from the world and limit contact. Every time return travellers arrive they seem to bring several new cases with them - but they're in hotel quarantine for 14 days so the community spread is almost non-existant. I'm hoping the vaccine brings a turning point and that it's effective against the new strains that are popping up - it would be nice to have some good news this year. Stay safe :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Leanne - Yes, you are right. Australia and New Zealand have the advantage of their geographical position. Glad to know that with some quick measures, NSW was able to contain the recent wave.

      Delete
  8. Agree with you. In Rajasthan there were strict rules for interstate travel and even intra-state travel for some time last year, but things are pretty relaxed now. But I think, we need to be cautious and take all precautions.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's ridiculous that India has half as many deaths and cases as the US despite having four times the population. Ridiculous for the US of course. Your country is being far more sensible at dealing with this crisis. Stay cautious.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's good to hear your situation is improving there, Pradeep, but yes, caution is wisdom, isn't it? Our numbers are still too high here, so our lockdown is being extended again. We just have to be patient. Take care!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Stay safe! And thanks for the congratulations on our kittens. They are just the distraction I need and all three felines are doing great.

    ReplyDelete