Coronavirus: Kerala govt enforces more curbs as COVID-19 cases rise alarmingly, clamps night curfew
New Delhi, Apr 22: Amid the increase in coronavirus cases, the Kerala government has decided to impose strict restrictions over the weekend and clamped night curfew for two weeks to contain the spread of COVID-19. The state recorded the highest single day tally on Wednesday with 22,414 cases clocking a high test positivity rate of 18.41 per cent.
Talking to the media, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who attended office after two weeks, said the second wave was really serious and the government will do everything possible to save lives. He said the state has enough stock of oxygen, ICU beds and ventilators but vaccine shortage was acute.
"We did exceptionally well during the first wave and contained the mortality rate effectively (it is still below 0.4), we will overcome the second wave also," he said.
Earlier, CM Pinarayi Vijayan chaired a high-level meeting in the state capital to review the situation. During the weekend, only emergency services will be allowed and private firms have been asked to implement work from home on an urgent basis, he said.
This is the first time the state has crossed 20,000 daily cases. With 22 fatalities, the death toll also went up to 5,000. Ernakulam district topped the list with 3980 cases. Active cases in the state rose to 1,35, 631, the CM said.
In a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 cases, the state has also updated its quarantine and isolation guidelines. Once tested positive a doctor's recommendation is necessary for the patient for hospitalization and this will ease pressure and lessen crowd in hospitals.
Civic bodies have also begun virus control measures after a brief lull. Police have also raised fines for offenders. Meanwhile, tuition classes are not permitted till further notice and local bodies will have to ensure that people don't crowd vaccination centres.
The Chief Minister said that COVID-19 vaccine shortage was acute in the state and he has written a letter to the Prime Minister in this connection. He also criticised the Union government's new vaccination policy and requested PM Modi ensure free supply. But the BJP has accused Pinarayi Vijayan of creating panic by repeatedly highlighting shortage of doses.
BJP state president K Surendran said the CM's letter was unnecessary and ill-timed after the Centre assured enough supply to the state in a couple of days. He said panic created by the government has led to fights at some vaccination centres. In Kottayam and Alappuzha people have clashed with health officials and others over delay.
The BJP state president said the CM had promised last December that the LDF government will distribute vaccine to the people free of cost and it will also try to set up a vaccine production facility in the state. "It is not proper for the CM to make such false promises. In the last two months vaccine distribution was under control. It is wrong on the part of the state government to blame the Centre for the shoddy supply arrangement," he said adding the CM was unnecessarily blaming the Union government.