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‘Alert’ in villages near Kerala border as Karnataka closes its borders

Despite Kodagu remaining a high-risk district, sharing its border with Kerala where COVID-19 cases are on the rise, 26 villages in Kodagu have been identified for vaccination on priority as a measure to prevent the disease from spreading. To prevent cross-border transmission, the villages within a radius of 20 km of the border are being targeted for vaccination. Kodagu is one of the few districts in the State where certain restrictions, including weekend lockdowns, have continued. Since the TPR has not yet fallen below 2 percent, schools and colleges aren’t open yet.

According to Kodagu DHO Venkatesh, the 26 villages have an estimated population of 30,000, including tribals who are being convinced to get vaccinated. In the wake of fake reports being used for entry into the state, Dr. Venkatesh asserted that screening at the border checkpoints is strict and the authenticity of RT-PCR negative reports is verified before entry is allowed into the state. In response to the scare of the Nipah virus in Kerala, he said all precautionary measures are in place and protocols are being followed. ‘There is no need to panic,’ he said.

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In 2014, when the Nipah outbreak was reported in Kerala, health authorities were on alert in the border districts of Kodagu, Chamarajanagar and Mysuru because they are popular with tourists from the neighbouring State. In the Kodagu district, instructions were given for educating people rearing pigs, since the infection can spread from fruit bats to pigs. Pigs should not be fed discarded and rotten fruit. The public was advised not to consume fruits grown in trees such as papaya and chiku with bite marks as a precaution since they may have been bitten by fruit-eating bats. According to health authorities, it is safe to eat fruits at home after confirming they do not have bite marks.


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