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12 fresh cases in Kerala, total touches 49

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram 

For the second consecutive day, Kerala reported 12 more fresh cases of coronavirus taking the tally in the State to 49, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Saturday, even as he ruled out the possibility of community spread.

However, he warned of strict action if government instructions were not followed to keep the virus at bay.

While six more people tested positive from Kasaragod, three new cases each were from Kannur and Ernakulam districts, Vijayan told reporters after a COVID-19 review meeting here.

"All those who were diagnosed with the virus today had returned from Dubai recently.

At least 52,785 people are in home quarantine, while 228 are under observation in isolation wards at various hospitals," Vijayan said.

Three positive cases were earlier treated and discharged.

On Friday also, 12 cases were reported from the southern state.

Vijayan again requested places of worship not to allow crowds during the regular prayer sessions.

"It has come to our notice that at some places of worship nearly thousands of people had been allowed for participating in a festival.

We request religious leaders not to repeat such actions. We are also requesting the people to stay away from the crowd and those having symptoms should stay at home.

If they fail to follow the instructions of the state government, strong action will be initiated," Vijayan said.

He also lashed out at the "irresponsible" act of the Kasaragod patient who had roamed around and forced even two of the MLAs into self-quarantine and said such people were working against the society.

"The patient was roaming around as he pleased. Kasaragod district administration has published the partial route map of the patient.

Despite counselling, the patient failed to help the health department to make a proper route map.There is something fishy in it," the chief minister said.

The district collector said the patient was not cooperating, Vijayan pointed out.

Meanwhile, a person who was asked to remain in home quarantine was found inside a Kerala State Transpot bus.

After passengers alerted police, he was shifted to a hospital. The KSRTC officials sanitised the bus before continuing with the journey.

The state government cancelled all lotteries in the state till next month.

As of now, Kasaragod is the worst-virus hit district in the state with 14 positive cases and the government has virtually shutdown the district.

As part of the the strict measures, the district administration has closed down all government offices for one week and closed places of worship for two weeks.

Shops in Kasaragod are allowed to open only from 11 AM to 5 PM, everyday.

Meanwhile, 12 cases have been registered against traders who kept their shops open from morning itself after a team led by the district collector inspected various parts of the district.

With several Indians, including students, stranded in Kuala Lumpur, Vijayan sought the immediate intervention of External Affairs minister S Jaishankar to help them.

Videos of the students and others stranded at the airport and making desperate pleas of help were also telecast by malayalam channels.

"We have time only till 5 pm (local time). Please help us. There are old people, sick amongst us. Where will we go?" they asked.

The Travancore Devaswom Board , which manages the temples in south Kerala, issued directions to various shrines under it in view of the virus spread.

The TDB has also decided to provide masks and gloves to all its staff in shrines and restricted timings of the temples.

The TDB which met today decided to restrict entry of devotees into temples controlled by it till March 31.

While a case has been registered against a mosque in Kasaragod for conducting prayers despite strict warning, in Thrissur a priest of a Church at Ollur was booked for allowing the faithful to crowd inside the church.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council had decided to stop holy mass with people's participation in Churches under its control.

Vijayan asked people of the state to cooperate with the "Janta curfew" on Sunday and engage in cleaning their home and surroundings.

As part of the curfew, Kochi Metro and KSRTC buses will not ply.

The Southern Railways has cancelled 66 trains as part of the curfew.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 21 2020. 20:56 IST