In the recent past, there has been an increased inflow of people from other districts into Udupi. This development has given rise to apprehension in the minds of the people here on account of the increasing number of coronavirus patients in the state.
The fact that neighbouring Dakshina Kannada and seven other districts have been grouped under red zone has built up pressure in the minds of the people. Dakshina Kannada has been identified as cluster hot spot.
Udupi has been listed under orange zone that has 11 districts including Uttara Kannada. Under these circumstances, influx of people from other districts has been looked down upon with a sense of concern.
As per the instructions of the central and state governments, vehicles entering the district for emergency medical treatment and other essential services have to be allowed to pass through. The deputy commissioner of the district says that vehicles entering the district are screened at the border. Even though the risk of coronavirus looms large, government order has to be obeyed. Moreover, people of Uttara Kannada, Shivamogga, and Chikkamagaluru districts depend on KMC Hospital at Manipal for treatment and their demand for access for medical facilities have to be acceded to. In the case of others, urgent medical cases supported by reference letter of the district heath officer are being allowed into the district. When vehicles move out of the district, health check is conducted. He said that it is difficult to say how far these measures will help the district to ward off coronavirus threat.
Most of the visitors from other districts are cancer patients, people suffering from heart-related ailments, pregnant women and others requiring surgical procedures.
Udupi is dependent on other districts for the supply of some of the food items as well as fruits and vegetables. Therefore their movement cannot be restricted. As a result, the district administration is facing a complex situation. However, there is a need to ensure that provisions made by the government for the entry of people from other districts are not misused.
From April 15 onward, the outpatient department of KMC Hospital has begun to operate after having been closed for a few weeks. On a single day on Wednesday, 600 patients were registered. This high number has given rise to a sense of apprehension.
Dr Avinash Shetty, medical superintendent of KMC Manipal, speaking to Daijiworld, said that the hospital has been admitting people needing emergency treatment as inpatients. “These people need permission from health officers of other districts to cross the check post at the district border. Once a patient is admitted here, he or she cannot be sent out before getting cured. Some people from Uttara Kannada, Chitradurga and Shivamogga suffering from monkey fever too come here for treatment. A patent and his helper are alone allowed into the hospital. The others can stay at the facility provided elsewhere. A fever clinic has been opened here where preliminary tests are conducted. In the past too, we used to handle 30 to 40 emergency cases every day. We have opened three desks, one for screening, one for fever, and the other, COVID. We are taking all precautionary measures and treating the patients,” he explained.
A few instances of people trying to gain entry into the district under the guise of ill health have been found. Therefore, the district administration, police department and health department have to function carefully. From April 16 onward, additional barricades have been erected at the main junctions of national highway and the junction at Kalsanka to ensure security and stop unnecessary movement of vehicles. Watch is also kept on the medical staff and relatives of the driver who might travel in the private vehicle or ambulance of the patients. Even though the district has only three coronavirus positive cases, the fact that Dakshina Kannada has 12, Uttara Kannada 10 and Vijayapura 13, has sounded warning bell for the district.
The district administration is aware of the need to closely minter unnecessary movement of traffic at check posts. The people too should discharge their duties by informing the district administration if they come across cases of unauthorized entry into the district. The administration said that the names of informers will be kept a secret.
There is no doubt that the increasing entry of people from other districts has given rise to a sense of panic among the people of Udupi. They want strong steps to be taken against those who violate rules framed to regulate coronavirus infection. The people also want the administration to keep proper record about people who enter the border of the district routinely, and also over the number of vehicles and persons who come and out of the district.