With South Korea-Like Walk-In Testing Kiosks, Kerala is Leading the War Against Covid-19


With South Korea-Like Walk-In Testing Kiosks, Kerala is Leading the War Against Covid-19

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

As positive coronavirus cases steadily spike in the rest of the country, the state that first made headlines for being the most affected by the pandemic, has now been leading the way in testing and treating patients.

Kerala announced on Monday that it had now set up walk-in kiosks to enable easy and cheap sampling of patients with Covid-19 symptoms. Modelled along the lines of similar booths in South Korea — which used the system to rapidly test its citizens — the two kiosks were set up at the Government Medical College in Ernakulam, and have the potential to carry out large-scale sampling.

Since healthcare workers are sitting behind a glass sheet, and using only a pair of gloves that’s attached to the contraption, they also never have to come in direct contact with patients. This, according to the Ernakulam District Medical Officer Dr Kuttappan, also means less reliance on PPE kits, which are sorely in need across the country.

“As of now, the medical staff had been using PPE kits while in isolation wards or while collecting samples. But by using “WISK” (the kiosks), there is no need to use PPE… This will greatly reduce the dependence on PPE kits,” he told The News Minute.

Over the last week, the Kerala administration has been on the receiving end of high praise for the way it has dealt with the pandemic. With 320-odd cases, as of this Sunday, the state has moved from first to fifth in the country with regard to the total number of cases.

Much of this change has been credited to the state government, for what some are calling “systematic and painstaking” contact tracing. According to other reports, more samples have been tested in Kerala than the rest of the country. The state government also ordered rapid screening in hotspot regions of the state on Sunday, India Today reported.

Apart from these measures the state has also won hearts by continuing to home deliver mid-day meals to anganwadi centres, so no child goes hungry. It had also deployed two robots at Kochi airport to hand out sanitisers and face masks (back when people were still allowed to visit airports, of course).

The state government also made headlines when it announced that prisoners in jails across the state were tasked with making masks for healthcare professionals, which they delivered a staggering 6,000 of, in just two days.

It’s pretty clear at this point that the state has been leading the way in tackling this pandemic. As we enter the last stretch of our 21-day lockdown, all eyes will be on the lookout for what the Kerala administration will come up with next.