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Thiruvananthapuram, March 20, 2020
Kerala on Friday recorded 12 more positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), taking the state's total to 37, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
Of the fresh cases, six were recorded at Kasargode, five in Kochi and one at Palakkad.
The total people now under observation in the state reached 44,390 including 225 at various hospitals.
Vijayan said things have turned bad in Kasargode because a person who arrived from Dubai took part in numerous functions before he was found COVID-19 positive on Thursday.
"So we have now decided to take strict action in Kasargode, giving one week holiday for all offices. All religious institutions should be closed for two weeks and it applies to clubs also. All shops should open at 11 a.m. and close at 5 p.m.," he said.
Two Indian Union Muslim League legislators, N. A. Nellikunnu and M. C. Kamurdeen, have on Friday have gone into self isolation after they reported to health authorities that they had come into contact with this person who returned from Dubai on March 11.
"Today for the first time I took part in a video conference with the Prime Minister and with his address to the nation yesterday, it has become clear that the Centre is very serious. We will fully cooperate with the 'Janata Curfew' and we request all to utilise Sunday to clean up one's home," said Vijayan.
"We have also decided to see that from now on we will follow a five day week for all government offices. From now on, while high level officials have to come every day, the others will be grouped into two groups and each group need to come only every other day," he added.
Vijayan said that he has asked NABARD for a special assistance of Rs 2,000 crore and also requested the Prime Minister to increase the number of days for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme from 100 to 150 days and the daily remuneration by Rs 50.
He also said that 22 private medical college hospitals in the state have agreed to hand over all their single rooms for COVID-19 cases.
At Kochi, state Agriculture Minister V. S. Sunil Kumar held a meeting of district authorities and warned the private hospitals not to dump coronavirus suspect patients at government hospitals.
"We have got one such case and this should not happen again. We have had detailed discussions with private hospitals. We have managed to keep ready 35 ventilators in case a need arises," he said.
Of the two premier temples in the state, the Sree Krishna Temple Guruvayoor, on Friday decided on restrictions with many of the normal events like marriages, naming ceremonies and such events having been cancelled. Entry for devotees also has been curbed. Only the key temple staff would be present to conduct the temple rituals.
At Sabarimala also, the temple administrators will make its decision on Saturday on whether to close down the temple for devotees, when it opens for its festival later this month.
Police across the state is on a high alert and on Friday registered seven cases against people for violating the designated protocols to be followed to contain the spread of COVID-19.
At Vadakara in Kozhikode district the police registered two cases against two people for organising their house warming in a grand style, where in about 500 people each took part.
The Kerala High Court came down heavy on Aluva resident G. Jyothis when he filed a PIL seeking that liquor should be made available online, as getting it in these times is tough.
The court ruled that liquor is not an essential item and fined him Rs 50,000 for seeing the judiciary in poor light by coming with these sort of irrelevant petitions.