MANGALURU: There has been a gradual rise in the number of passengers with international travel history testing positive for Covid-19 in Dakshina Kannada district, so much so the district administration is keeping a close watch on passengers arriving at Mangaluru International Airport.
More than16,000 samples from international passengers arriving at MIA were tested between December 28, 2020 and March 13, and of these 362 tested positive. A breakup of the data shows that in January, 4,214 tests were conducted and 123 passengers tested positive. The number of positive cases increased to 157 (5,829 tests) in February and in the first 13 days in March 79 tested positive (5,422 tests).
The health department has deputed technical staff at the airport to monitor the situation. An agency from Bengaluru has set up a testing facility at the airport and is declaring test results within 24 hours, said Dr H Ashok, nodal officer for Covid-19, DK.
On Thursday, of a total of 72 positive cases reported in the district, 13 of those infected had international travel history.
“We held a meeting and sensitised all airport staff on protocols to be followed,” Dr Ashok said. “Besides international passengers, the health department is also keeping a watch on passengers arriving from Mumbai. If they fail to produce an RT-PCR negative report on arrival, they will have to undergo the test here.”
Since it’s the only international airport in Karnataka after Bengaluru, people from Kerala too find it easier to travel to Mangaluru and from there to districts in Kerala. Dr Ashok said the big challenge is identifying contacts of passengers with international travel, especially if they are from other districts.