Today, India is busy counting numbers, as cases of Covid19 surge past 12 lakh with new cases spurting in different parts of the country every minute. Rhetoric on India’s getting more PPE and testing kits, hotels being converted into hospitals for admitting the Covid patients went abuzz in the country since the virus made its presence felt. But in reality the situation worsened over time. The state of affairs that was more or less under control during lockdown started to exacerbate once Unlock 1.0 was announced. Most parts of the country started seeing a stark rise in cases, leaving the administrations in a state of utter disarray. Beating most of the virus-affected countries like Italy, London and Spain, India has come up in the third position now, with USA and Brazil in top two. Red zones with cases doubling is the new normal here.
Against this backdrop, Lakshadweep Island’s record of zero Civid cases comes as a happy surprise. The remote and serene island of the Union Territory with nearly 60,000 populations is the only island which has reported no cases of the deadly virus infections so far.
When asked how the island achieved this, Dr S. Sundaravadivelu, Health Secretary of Union Territory of Lakshadweep, Kavaratti, mentioned the distance of 400 Kms from mainland and strict strategies to prevent the spread of Coronavirus as the reasons for their success.
“Kochi airport and harbor is our main entry point. From the day we have been informed about the spread of COVID19, i.e. from January 31, we started screening our airport passengers. We also started doing thermal screening for every passenger before they boarded ships at Kochi and landed here. Also after people entered the island, we sent them to institutional quarantine centers for seven days. Moreover, we restricted both in and out bound travels. As per healthcare facilities are concerned, we have put in place a dedicated team that is working day and night to control the spread. Thorough monitoring and checking is another critical cog of our Covid combating strategy through the antigen Truenat test ,” informs Dr S. Sundaravadivelu.
According to experts, multiple entry points with large flocks of travelers flying back and forth became the greatest undoing for the big cities of the world. As the rate of infections started increasing, state governments were unsure about putting travel bans and restrictions on movement since major entry points to big cities and cosmos were difficult to shut down randomly on an emergency basis. This is where Lakshadweep was at a considerable advantage. Unlike other places, which usually have over two or more entry points and a high population density, Lakshadweep has only one, which is Kochi. Therefore right from the beginning the small island has been able to keep the situation under control, which proved to be a game changer for its inhabitants!
Well done Lakshadweep!