Kerala boatman sells food during coronavirus
A 50-year-old boatman sells essential food items including food grains, vegetables and fruits, on his boat to the families who stuck who are stuck on an island due to coronavirus lockdown, in Alappuzha, Kerala, on Friday. Image Credit: ANI

Thiruvananthapuram: It was in the first week of March that a tiny village in Pathanamthitta district made Kerala sit up and take notice of the scary prospects of the coronavirus outbreak. That was when a couple and their son based in Italy returned home and were soon confirmed with the virus.

The man’s brother and wife living close to their ancestral house were affected, followed by the man’s elderly parents aged 93 and 88, making it seven COVID-19 cases in two homes virtually facing each other in the sleepy village of Aythala near Ranni.

This week, while Kerala’s total count of affected people was edging towards the 300-mark, residents of Aythala were a relieved lot as, one by one, all seven in the village were declared cured of the disease.

Five of them returned home earlier this week, and the elderly parents are expected to return on Saturday from Kottayam, where they have been under treatment.

“It’s a great relief for people in the village. All villagers who were under observation for having interacted with the affected seven, have now completed their observation period, and are out of quarantine,” Bobby Abraham who represents Aythala ward in the Pazhavangadi panchayat told Gulf News.

Villagers said they were particularly worried about the elderly couple, given that they had other health issues. Doctors in Kottayam have certified them cured, and the happy couple is awaiting a final medical board assessment before they can go home.

Local media reported that the nonagenarian was waiting to get back home to taste his favourite tapioca and fish curry.

“The other five who returned home are keeping fine,” Abraham told Gulf News. “They need to serve a 14-day quarantine, and therefore we are providing them daily requirements,” he said.

“I visited both homes today and found them absolutely fine,” Abraham said.

In the early days of coronavirus in Kerala, Pathanamthitta district was in the headlines owing to the trio who came from Italy, who then infected eight more people. At that point of time, those 11 cases made up the lion’s share of Kerala’s count of 14 cases on March 11.

Since then, the focus has shifted to the two northern-most districts of Kasaragod and Kannur which together make up roughly 200 of the nearly 300 coronavirus cases in the state.