The spread of coronavirus is exponential across the world. In Kerala, in a span of six days, a family of three who did not disclose their travel history to Italy, have infected at least eight people — their loved ones. Kerala, on a war footing, has begun making route maps, detailing places visited by patients who have tested positive, as well as, Geographic Information System or GIS maps to assess and evaluate various risk zones.
In Pathanamthitta, the family that returned without disclosing their travel to Italy, travelled to 17 locations in and around the district in Kerala since they landed at Kochi airport on February 29. The flow chart shows the exact date, time and location of travel of the family – grouped as patient 1 cluster. Among the eight people they infected are 85 and 96 year old elderly parents they stayed with. The elderly are seen as among the most vulnerable groups, internationally.
“The elderly couple are stable but in high risk category. We are doing all that we can to see them safe,” KK Shailaja, the state health minister told the media.
Around 900 people had already been traced as the contacts in three days in Pathanamthitta. But the release of this flow chart showing the exact route of positive cases, took the tracking to another level in last 24 hours.
“Till 2 pm on Wednesday, we have received around 60 calls from people on the two dedicated numbers that we set aside for public who would be calling in response to our route maps. Majority of them have called to say that we were on location during that time. Some have even called and informed of errors in our flow chart,” PB Nooh, the District Collector of Pathanamthitta told NDTV.
At the state and district level helplines, more trained staff are being regularly added, due to the heavy influx of calls, from across the world.
Working on a war footing, a team of health officials and Kerala State Disaster Management authorities have collated the entire surveillance data, into live geo-maps, with each of the primary and secondary contacts traced, marked and identified on the map and just one click – the details of the region would pop-up.
Another map that shows the classification of high risk, low risk zones, shows parts of Pathanamthitta and Kottyam under high risk. The focus is on identifying the spread and possible on ground clusters of coronavirus’ possible expanse.
“This is a heat map. We can see which are the high risk places, which are the places where high concentration of primary contacts are there. Where they are moving around,” Dr Divya from the state cell for coronavirus control says.
“We have a highly robust surveillance team. We are using the GS platform of Kerala State Disaster Management Authority and plotting these hotspots. These include primary contacts and secondary contacts. So we will know exactly where the infection is spreading. We are adding more layers like our isolation ward layer, lab facility layers that help us in decision making. This will help decision makers to analyse the course of the virus in the state and the kind of action required to be taken quickly,” Ratan Kelkar, the Director of National Health Mission told NDTV.