With Indian Railways now set to partially commence train services to help those stranded at various places in the country, the Kerala government is planning to put in place a Covid-19 screening model similar to airports at three of the state's railway stations. These stations are Kozhikode, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram.
State minister V S Sunil Kumar said symptomatic passengers would be shifted to hospitals from the stations and others would be transported to their home districts in specially arranged Kerala State Road Transport (KSRTC) buses.
"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 told news agency PTI.
According to central government guidelines, Indian Railways has to ensure that all passengers are compulsorily screened and only asymptomatic passengers are allowed to board trains.
Passengers would be provided with hand santisers at entry and exit points at stations and in coaches and all of them would have to wear face masks. On arrival at their destinations, they would have to adhere to the state's health protocols.
The Kerala minister said counters like those at the airports to screen passengers would be installed at the three stations. "We will open separate counters like we have done in the 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.
The passengers would be subjected to thermal screening at the railway stations. A passenger running high temperature would be segregated and sent to a hospital for formal check-up.
Kumar said, "those who are symptomatic will be sent to hospitals. 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 enquire whether the passenger has facilities at their residence to go into home quarantine. If not, they would be shifted to institutional quarantine.
"We will also enquire whether the person has a facility to stay under home quarantine. For home quarantine, we will enquire 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 these are there, 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 passengers as the state government had arranged transportation facilities by KSRTC buses, he said.
Kerala has been following the Centre's guidelines which say that anyone arriving in Kerala from other states will have to be in a strict 14-day quarantine.
There would be local-level monitoring committees to ensure those who were under home quarantine did not move around to visit friends and relatives, Kumar said.
The state has 519 confirmed cases of Covid-19 till now and currently, 27 are under treatment.