A local body in the Indian state of Kerala has launched a unique initiative to enforce social distancing - it has added an umbrella, along with a face mask and sanitiser to the list of essential tools to keep COVID-19 at bay.
The idea behind the innovative project by Thanneermukkom village body in Kerala, launched by state finance minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, is that if you have an open umbrella in your hand as you go to public places, others have to keep at least a meter away from you.
— Thomas Isaac (@drthomasisaac) April 26, 2020
The local body has also offered subsidized umbrellas from a local cooperative store and those who cannot afford to pay upfront can buy one in instalments.
The local body administration has decided to distribute 12,000 umbrellas to the residents of the village.
The Kerala model for containing COVID-19 has received worldwide praise. The first case of COVID-19 was detected in Kerala on 30 January, when a medical student arrived in the state from Wuhan, China.
The state, which has a long history of migration and constant flow of international tourists, initially saw the viral infection spreading widely. But Kerala, which has a strong health infrastructure on the ground, immediately sprung into action and succeeded in pushing levels of infection down sharply.
India had a caseload of 26,917 cases, including 5,914 cured or discharged patients, while 826 people have lost their lives to the viral infection, according to data released on Sunday by the federal health and family welfare ministry.