A school teacher gives a live streaming online class at a govt school in Chennai.
A school teacher gives a live streaming online class at a govt school in Chennai.
—AFP

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has managed to prevent a community spread, but a few cases of unknown source of infection are causing worry to the health authorities.

The latest such case is of a Christian priest, who died of Covid infection after he underwent treatment in two hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram following a bike accident on April 20. He spent a month in the medical college hospital while he took treatment in another city hospital for 10 days. But as he developed breathing trouble he was shifted to the medical college hospital again on May 31.

While he was under treatment in the second city hospital, a number of people, including friends and relatives visited him, but it has not been possible to ascertain how he got Covid infection.  This has made drawing up a contact list highly challenging. It is apparent the priest had not gone out of either hospital, which suggested he had contracted the disease in the hospital itself. This has raised doubts about the safety and security environment at the two hospitals.

The priest’s death has sent 32 health workers in the two hospitals, including 19 doctors, to quarantine as all of them had come to contact with the infected patient

In another Covid death in the city suburb of Pothencode, a retired assistance police inspector died in March, but it still remains a mystery how he contracted the virus. The case had caused chaos as the authorities had to close down the area while his contact list indicated state-wide travel by him, during which he interacted with a large number of people. In a curious twist to the priest’s Covid death, the authorities are facing trouble over his funeral as the 10 feet pit, required under the covid funeral protocol, could not be dug in the cemetery of the father's own parish. It was then decided to bury the body at the grounds of another church, but this has been objected to by the local people.

The incident has led to stand-off between police and the local people, who are not willing to budge from their stand. The burial could not be undertaken till late in the evening. In a similar case last month, the burial of a Covid patient who had just returned from the Gulf could not be done in his own church as the pit dug was filled with water. The burial had to be organised in a public burial ground in the district headquarters.

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