Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said that twelve more fresh cases of coronavirus were reported from the state, taking the tally to 52. While six more people tested positive from Kasaragod, three each new cases were from Kannur and Ernakulam districts, Vijayan told reporters after a COVID-19 review meeting in Thiruvananthapuram.
All those who were diagnosed with the virus on Saturday had returned from Dubai recently, the Chief Minister said.
Vijayan also said, "We have also observed that some people are not abiding by these restrictions. In a few instances, some places of worship carried out festivals and prayers in the presence of huge gathering. We would reiterate our request that such practices must be avoided. If this isn't complied with, then we will be forced to take strict action including prohibitory orders."
Three medical students from Wuhan in China, who had tested positive, have been cured and discharged from hospitals earlier. At least 52,785 people are in-home quarantine, while 228 are under observation in isolation wards at various hospitals.
In a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the Kerala government has directed its employees to work part-time for two weeks. Addressing a press conference on Friday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the new arrangement was for employees in departments other than essential services.
"About 50 per cent of Group B, C and D employees in each office must attend work on alternate days so as not to interfere with normal office work. Office in-charges will make necessary arrangements to recruit employees every day," he said.
The Kerala government also announced a Rs 20,000-crore financial package for the state to tide over the present crisis being faced because of the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes Rs 14,000 crore to clear all arrears pending in various sectors and a Rs 500-crore health package.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday said a total of 298 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the country so far. Of the total number, four people have died and 22 others have recovered.
(With agency inputs)