Nine more people in Kerala tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 112.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said though community transmission had not taken place "it is a sword hanging over our heads" and the state was facing a 'dangerous' situation and appealed for vigil.
A vicar and two officials of a local church here in Kerala were arrested on charges of conducting a funeral service, defying the government order against mass gatherings in view of the coronavirus outbreak, police said.
In a positive development, eight COVID-19 patients tested negative while four persons have been cured earlier and no fresh cases were reported on Wednesday in the worst-affected Kasaragod.
Till Tuesday, the district had reported 45 positive cases and was expecting results of 77 samples.
Of the nine new cases in the state, two are from Palakkad, three from Ernakulam, two from Pathnamthitta and one each from Idukki and Kozhikode districts, Vijayan told reporters after a COVID-19 review meeting here.
While four of the infected had come from Dubai, one each from the UK and France. Three persons had got the infection through contact with an infected person.
A taxi driver from Kochi was infected as he had transported a man who had returned from France.
"We are facing a dangerous situation. Though community transmission of the virus has not taken place, it is a sword hanging over our heads. We need to be careful and vigilant," Vijayan said.
At least 76,542 people are under surveillance and 532 in isolation wards in various hospitals.
The government on Wednesday decided to shut the state-run liquor outlets for 21 days in view of the nationwide lockdown.
The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by the chief minister.
The opposition Congress-led UDF had asked the government to shut the liqour outlets as large number of people were seen gathering at various places and police had to chase away people as they were not following the mandatory one metre distance.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government also decided to provide all ration card holders, irrespective above or below poverty line (BPL) categories, 15 kg of rice free for a month.
The BPL card holders will also be provided a provision kit. Packed food would be given to those in quarantine, community kitchen facility and door delivery of food articles and medicines if needed would be provided to those who are in quarantine at home, officials said.
Several people coming from Karnataka to Kerala and stranded at the Madhur check post in Wayanad district since midnight on Tuesday were allowed to cross over into the state after they were screened.
They were sent to coronavirus care centres in Wayanad, where they would be placed under quarantine, the officials said.
Meanwhile, 1,751 cases were registered in Kerala against people who hit the roads defying the prohibitory orders, taking the total number of the cases in the last two days to 3,612, police media cell said.
The highest number of cases had been registered in Kozhikode district - 351 followed by Idukki (214), Kottayam (208) and Kasaragod (10), it said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)