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Covid-19 seeps into Kerala’s tribal areas, but Edamalakkudy keeps itself safe

In its second wave, the Covid-19 pandemic has made deeper inroads into Kerala’s weak tribal communities, each by way of circumstances and fatalities, as in comparison with the primary wave final 12 months. However efficiently resisting the second wave, which was introduced on by a extremely transmissible variant of the virus, is Edamalakkudy, the primary tribal hamlet within the state to get native physique standing in 2010.

Buried within the deep forests of the Western Ghats, Edamalakkudy, a cluster of 26 settlements populated by the Muthuvan Tribe with practically 2500 inhabitants, has managed to stay an oasis of calm, having reported not a single case of Covid-19 for the reason that pandemic started. Its feat is a results of tight restrictions on the entry and exit to the village by the tribal councils, excessive consciousness throughout the neighborhood concerning the risks of the virus and the interventions by authorities departments to guard the tribe.

“Proper at the beginning of the pandemic, the tribals (after a gathering with authorities officers) determined that nobody would enter or go away the village with out permission. To deliver important meals provides, one or two individuals they approve would go to the closest city. Upon return, they might enter quarantine for 14 days,” stated Dr Priya N, district medical officer, Idukki.

“On our half, earlier than sending our workers to Edamalakkudy, we topic them to RT-PCR testing. Solely these testing detrimental are allowed to go. So, beneath any circumstances, there’s no probability for social mingling (with somebody doubtlessly carrying the virus). That’s why no circumstances have been reported up to now,” she added.

The remoteness of Edamalakkudy has additionally been an element. Guests to the village must traverse a protracted forest path, serviceable solely by jeeps and intensely troublesome to navigate within the wet season. The presence of untamed animals makes night time journey out of the query.

The hamlet lies 18 km from Pettimudi, the closest settlement, and 41 km from Munnar, the closest massive city with a semblance of healthcare amenities.

Harindra Kumar S, vary forest officer, Munnar, stated, “On the request of the tribals at the beginning of the lockdown final 12 months, we had closed the one motorable highway from Pettimudi, making certain that no one will get in. We shut forest paths from Mankulam, Valparai and ninth block too from the Tamil Nadu aspect. Our watchers and workers who dwell in Edamalakkudy have additionally helped in spreading consciousness.”

The resistance in opposition to the virus is very outstanding for Edamalakkudy contemplating the truth that its residents participated in two democratic workout routines within the final six months — the native physique elections in December final 12 months and the Meeting elections in April. Although the election campaigns have been extensively stated to be answerable for Kerala’s surge in infections, in Edamalakkudy, it made no distinction to the established order.

Being a inexperienced zone has different benefits too. The first college college students within the hamlet have the uncommon alternative to attend courses in individual, with out concern. In any case, the absence of web connectivity would have made digital courses inconceivable.

The district administration is now transferring shortly to defend tribal communities from the virus by administering them vaccine. The state authorities has already ordered all above the age of 18 in tribal colonies to be inoculated as shortly as potential.

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