Volunteers shine as state battles Covid- 19
Saleem Kalpetta, along with his team of around 30 volunteers from Pulse Emergency Team in Wayanad, has been braving the summer heat to physically screen travellers in hundreds of vehicles, queuing up to enter the state from Karnataka, during the past 10 days at Muthanga border checkpoint. Youths, wearing masks, are recording temperatures using infrared thermometers, passenger name and contact number and providing them leaflets about precautions to be taken to prevent spread of Covid-19 since March 15 at four check posts in the district. They left the comforts of their homes and volunteered when district health authorities sought help to screen the thousands who were rushing home amid Covid-19 shutdown concerns through Muthanga check post. “Ours is a collective which was formed after we all met up during the flood relief works during the past two years. The Covid-19 situation is a muchbigger emergency and it is the time to do our bit to contain the pandemic and protect the vulnerable. Many of our volunteers reach home in the wee hours after border screening; but it was something we got used to during the floods,” said Saleem secretary of the organization. They are not alone, many other volunteer groups, who were at the forefront to surmount the havoc wrecked by floods during the past two years, are springing back to life to help government agencies in the fight against Covid-19. One such is voluntary organization Viqaya, which has been offering free ambulance services for transportation of patients, apart from free delivery of medicines and food to the needy during lockdown. “We have 12 ambulances kept ready in Malabar districts for Covid-19-related services and they will be made available to health authorities. Also, we have been getting requests to supply food and medicines to those stranded here due to lockdown. We are doing voluntary work as per the directives and approval of the government,” said Viqaya state convenor Salman Faizi Thiroorkkad. Wayanad DMO Dr R Renuka said the support received from voluntary organizations was extremely helpful in managing Covid-19 situation. “From screening of inter-state passengers to conducting awareness about social distancing and offering ambulance services, voluntary organizations have been doing selfless work,” she said.