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Samantha Argawal

Thinking on its feet, the district administration culled data from the family’s phones and from CCTV cameras in the area. Based on that, it developed a detailed flow chart of all of the exact locations visited by the patients along with approximate dates and times. The flow chart was then widely circulated on social media along with a hotline for those who may have come into contact with the family. The hundreds of calls the administration received in the days that followed helped it plug the gaps in the flow chart.

Such epic contact tracing initiatives, though tedious, have been at the heart of the state’s “people-intensive” pandemic response. People who are identified in contact tracing are — depending on their situation — sent for testing and kept in hospital isolation wards or monitored at home for 28 days.

More Keralans have succumbed to the coronavirus in New York than in Kerala.  This stunning fact can partially be explained by the generally above-average quality of care in Kerala, but more so because the state was able to keep the health care system from being overwhelmed through its two-pronged approach: rigorous contact tracing and strict isolation measures.