Kerala reported 24 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, taking the total number of coronavirus affected people under treatment in the state to 237, even as over 1.64 lakh people are under observation. Kasaragod continues to be the Coronavirus hotspot in Kerala with 12 new cases of COVID-19, taking the total number of people under treatment in the district to 110.
"Ernakulam has got three new cases today and Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Malappuram and Kannur reported two cases each. One case was reported from Palakkad," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters after a COVID-19 review meeting this evening. So far, 265 positive cases have been reported from Kerala and 26 people, including seven foreigners, have been cured. Two patients have died. "A total of 1,64,130 people are under observation in the state, of which 622 are in isolation wards of various hospitals. So far the state has sent 7,965 samples for testing.
Two persons-one from Thiruvananthapuram and another from Kozhikode- were cured today," the Chief Minister said. He also said that steps are being initiated for rapid tests in the state. Out the total number of those affected, 191 people are foreign returnees and seven are foreigners, Vijayan said. He also said that 67 affected people are contacts of foreign returnees.
The Chief Minister said the Kasaragod medical college hospital would be completely operational as a Covid treatment centre within four days. He said at least 60 people, who returned after attending the religious congregation at Delhi, were under observation.
Coming down on those trying to communalise the Nizamuddin Tablighi jamaat congregation at Delhi during the pandemic period, he said some "unwanted campaigns" were seen in social media against those who attended the meeting. "Do not try to exploit the lockdown period and come out with your communal agendas. Coronavirus does not know any religion. This is the time to stand together and move forward," Vijayan said.
He thanked the Tamil Nadu government for agreeing to procure 50,000 litres of milk per day from Kerala in order to produce milk powder from a factory at Erode. "As of now, we have 1,80,000 litres of excess milk each day. The Tamil Nadu government has agreed to purchase 50,000 litres from Kerala. We urge people to purchase more milk. The rest of the milk will be given to the guest workers from other states through anganwadis," Vijayan said. Some dairy farmers in Palakkad had drained off excess milk procured by them in protest on Wednesday. The Chief Minister the strict measures initiated by the government had ensured a decrease in the number of those venturing out during the lockdown period.
However, the government planned to register cases against the violators under the newly promulgated Epidemic Act, which envisages, among others, two-year imprisonment, he said. "A total of 22,332 cases have been registered across the state for violating the lockdown protocol and 2,155 arrests have been made. At least 12,783 vehicles were seized," he said.
Vijayan said 2,153 trucks with essential materials reached Kerala on Wednesday, but the standoff between the state and Karnataka over the closure of border roads by that state following the lockdown was still continuing. The Chief Minister also said the state government would approach the centre to bring back the bodies of Keralites who have died abroad during the global lockdown. "We will request the Centre to provide cargo planes to bring back the bodies The state will also request Indian embassies in various countries to provide quarantine facilities to the families or bachelors staying abroad," Vijayan said.
On Monday, the Kerala government issued special passes for tipplers, who have withdrawal symptoms and doctor's prescription, to purchase liquor from the Excise department. A Government Order in this regard was issued on Monday night, despite objection from doctors' association, to supply liquor to tipplers under prescription during the 21-day lockdown initiated to counter the spread of COVID-19.
"Following the lockdown and the closure of liquor outlets in the state, there were many instances of social issues including the frustration and suicide tendencies shown by those who used to consume liquor regularly and the state government has decided to initiate steps to resolve the matter," the order read.
(with PTI inputs)