Kerala decided to go in for a total lockdown from midnight tonight till March 31 with 28 new positive COVID-19 cases, the highest on a single day, being reported on Monday, taking the total number of people under treatment to 91 and more than 64,000 under surveillance.
With positive cases continuing to rise, the government decided to go in for the lockdown from midnight tonight till month end, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who held a series of high-level meetings with various departments and stakeholders, said.
At least 64,320 are under surveillance in the state and 383 are in isolation wards of various hospitals.
Of the 28 new cases, 19 are from the worst-affected northern district of Kasaragod, five are from Kannur, one from Pathnamthitta, two from Ernakulam and one from Thrissur, Vijayan told reporters after a COVID-19 review meeting.
This is the highest number of positive cases detected in the state on a single day.
Within the last four days, the state had recorded 67 positive cases.
"Twenty-five of the 28 found positive today had returned from Dubai," Vijayan said, adding as of now there is no evidence of community spread of the virus.
As part of the lockdown, the state's borders will remain closed, state run KSRTC and private buses would be off the roads, but private vehicles would be allowed.
Banks would be open only till 2 pm.
"All essential materials will be made available. All state borders will remain closed.
There will not be any public transportation.KSRTC and private buses will not ply, but private vehicles would be allowed. Petrol pumps would not be shut and LPG distribution will not be affected," Vijayan said.
Hotels will be opened but only takeaway facility would be allowed.
"We will also request the RBI to disinfect currency notes and coins.Essential shops will remain open from 7 AM to 5 PM in the evening.
But medical shops are exempted from this," Vijayan said.
Places of worship will be out of bound for devotees.
A priest in Chalakudy was arrested on Monday after he conducted mass at a church defying goverment orders against large gatherings. He was later released.
A case was registered against the priest and at least 100 people who attended the mass.
With several instances of people in home quarantine defying medical advice to remain indoors, Vijayan said those in quarantine must strictly follow the health department's directions.
He said their mobile tower location will be continuously monitored to make sure that they remain in quarantine or else strict action would be taken against those violating directions.
In bad news for tipplers, bars will remain shut in Kerala which is known for its high liquor consumption, but outlets of the state-run Beverages Corporation will remain open.
"Beverages will remain open. We have had some previous bad experiences when the government had stopped the sale of liquor. It will create many social issues.
Moreover, in the centre's list of essential services, beverages is also there," Vijayan said, adding that the crowd will be controlled.
Four people who tested positive for the virus have been treated and discharged.
While three medical students from Wuhan were treated and discharged earlier, a man from Kannur was recently discharged.
Kasaragod and Kozhikode districts are already under lockdown as the district collectors had yesterday itself imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC.
"The situation in Kasaragod is bit different from other parts of the state. Restrictions are more severe there.
People must strictly stay inside their homes.Those who fail to follow the health department's instructions will face arrest," he said.
Those who reach the state from other states must striclty undergo home quarantine of 14 days, Vijayan added.
Kasaragod's border with Kannur has been closed.
Even small roads have been closed using barricades.
At Vatakara in Kozhikode district at least 500 people standing in queue in front of a beverages outlet were chased away by police.
Several migrant workers, who were stranded at the railway station in Palakkad following cancellation of long distance trains in the last two days, were taken to an auditorium at nearby Kanjikode by labour department officials where they were provided food and accommodation.
This will continue till services are resumed, according to officials.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)