Edamalakkudy: The only COVID-free haven in Kerala

Self-imposed lockdowns, barring outsiders, simple lifestyle of Edamalakkudy residents rooted in nature like consuming locally grown food and the clean air made them a COVID-free haven

This first tribal grama panchayat with a population of 3,000 people has not reported a single case of COVID-19 so far

In the midst of the mayhem caused by the pandemic in India, Edamalakkudy, a tribal village tucked away in the lush, green district of Idukki in Kerala has not reported a single case of COVID-19.

A combination of factors such as self-imposed lockdowns, barring outsiders from entering the village, the simple lifestyle of the residents rooted in nature like the locally grown food and the clean air, has helped this small community to be a COVID-free haven, said a Deccan Herald report.

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According to the report, the director of panchayats, P K Jayashree told them that from official data, not a single COVID-case has been reported from this panchayat. Situated inside the Munnar forest division, Edamalakkudy happens to be the first tribal grama panchayat with a population of around 3,000 persons living in 28 settlements. It has no proper connectivity and roads and in August last year, in fact, landslips had washed away the only road to the tribal hamlet leaving it almost isolated for some time.

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When the pandemic began last year, the local panchayat and their local tribal assembly, the Oorukkootam initiated a strict lockdown in the area. Outsiders into their village were not encouraged and strictly monitored, while locals who went outside had to quarantine for a few days before they mingled with others. Masks and sanitisers were supplied, and it also was ensured that people involved in supplying essential commodities to them were COVID free.

Further, the village panchayat officials told Deccan Herald that the vegetarian diet of the tribals and the clean oxygenated air of the forests also helped in keeping them healthy and COVID at bay.

Even as the panchayat has wisely planned ahead and prepared a medical plan in case of an emergency since they sorely lacked access to healthcare facilities, the health authorities  plan to conduct a vaccination drive in the area. However, the Oorukkootam and the local panchayat have told them to ensure they should not be COVID-carriers and end up passing the virus to them.

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