Coronavirus: Airport-like screening planned at 3 railway stations in Kerala

Counters like those at airports to screen passengers for coronavirus will be in place at Kozhikode, Ernakulam, and Thiruvananthapuram railway stations. Symptomatic passengers will be moved to hospitals; others will be transported to their home districts in buses.

With Indian Railways all set to partially commence some train services from Tuesday to help those stranded at various places, the Kerala government plans to put in place airport-model COVID-19 screening at three railway stations, where trains will halt.

The stops are Kozhikode, Ernakulam, and Thiruvananthapuram railway stations.

State minister V S Sunil Kumar said symptomatic passengers would be shifted to hospitals from stations, and others would be transported to their home districts in specially arranged Kerala State Road Transport (KSRTC) buses.

"These special trains will have only three stops in Kerala--Kozhikode, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram. The Railways will provide us with the full address details of the passengers. We will segregate them according to their respective districts and finalise the list of people alighting at the three stations. Those who reach the state will be screened and tested for symptoms," Sunil Kumar said.

As per central government guidelines, Railways have to ensure that all passengers are compulsorily screened and only asymptomatic passengers are allowed to board trains.

Passengers will be provided with hand santisers at entry and exit points at stations and in coaches, and will have to wear face masks.

On arrival at their destinations, they must adhere to the state's health protocols, Sunil Kumar said. The minister said counters like those at airports to screen passengers would be in place at the three stations.

"We will open separate counters like we have done at airports.We expect at least 1,400 people in each train and they will alight at three different stations. The final plan will be made by Wednesday evening," he added.

Thermal screening and home quarantine

The passengers would be subjected to thermal screening at railway stations. A passenger having high temperature would be segregated and sent to the hospitals for a formal check-up.

Kumar said, "Those who are symptomatic will be sent to hospital. Non-symptomatic persons will be allowed to board KSRTC buses, taken to their districts, and home quarantined."

Various departments and the local self government institutions will check whether the passenger has facilities at their residences to go into home quarantine and, if not, they will be shifted to institutional quarantine.

"We will also inquire whether the person has a facility to stay under home quarantine. We will check whether the house has a bath-attached room, whether it is possible for the person to stay alone in the room, and if there is anyone above the age of 60 years in that house. If not, we will arrange institutional quarantine. Paid quarantine is also available," he said.

There was no need for any relatives or friends to reach the station to pick up passengers as the state government has arranged transportation facility by KSRTC buses.

Kerala has been following the Centre's guidelines, which state that anyone arriving in Kerala from other states will have to be in strict 14-day quarantine.

There would be local level monitoring committees to ensure that those who are under home quarantine do not move around to visit friends and relatives, Kumar said.

The state has 519 confirmed cases of COVID-19 till now and currently 27 people are under treatment.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)


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