Kerala risks sliding into community transmission: CM Vijayan
Thiruvananthapuram, May 26: After the biggest single day spike in coronavirus cases, Kerala Chief Minister Pinaryi Vijayan on Tuesday warned that the state risks sliding into community transmission and losing all its gains if people under observation fail to follow health guidelines.
Sixty seven people tested positive on Tuesday, the biggest single spike on a single day in the state. The total tally touched 963 and those under observation crossed the one lakh.
Speaking to reporters here, the Chief Minister warned that the state was on the verge of a community spread if those under observation failed to adhere to the health department's instructions. He said those coming from red zones can be potential carriers.
"As of now, we have not reported community spread. But if we don't follow the precautions properly, we will soon have it here in Kerala. We are on verge of community spread. Those coming from red zones can be potential carriers and they should themselves ensure to be under room quarantine," Vijayan said.
He said that those coming from abroad would henceforth have to pay for seven day government quarantine facilties.
"Paid quarantine is for those who come from abroad. Lakhs of people wantto come to Kerala. The state may not be able to handle all of them," Vijayan said.
However there was no need to worry as there would be affordable quarantine facilities for everyone, he said. Of the total positive cases on Tuesday, 27 came from abroad and 33 from other states, including Maharashtra 15, Tamil Nadu nine and Gujarat five and 415 people are presently undergoing treatment, Vijayan said.
At least 1,04,336 people are under observation, while 1,03,528 in homes/institutional quarantine and 808 people are in hospitals, inclduing 186 admitted on Tuesday.
The number of virus cases have been increasing in the state since the return of Non Resident Keralites from abroad and other states. Of 133 people who came from abroad and tested positive, 75 are from the UAE and 25 from Kuwait, while 72 returnees are from Maharashtra, the worst affected by the pandemic in the country, the Chief Minister said.
Seventy one people from Tamil Nadu and 35 from Karnataka have also been infected. Seven people contracted the virus through contact, Vijayan said.
While Kannur had eight cases, Kottayam six, Malappuram and Ernakulam five each, Thrissur and Kollam had four each and Kasaragod and Alappuzha recorded three cases each, he said.
The Chief Minister also held a video conference with MPs and MLAs from the state on Tuesday and all of them supported the government's efforts in tackling the pandemic.
Many of the participants also requested the government to increase testing. Among those who participated were Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, Opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
"At one point of time we had only 16 Covid patients under treatment, but now we have 415. Those coming to Kerala from red zones or containment areas must be careful and striclty follow the directions on home quarantine in order to contain the spread of the virus," Vijayan said, expressing concern at the increasing cases.
He also said the state would face immense difficulty if all Keralites in foreign countries and other states returned at the same time, as lakhs of Keralites are settled in various parts of the country and abroad.
The Chief Minister said around 3.80 lakh people have registered to come to Kerala from other states and of these, 2.16 lakh passes have been issued and 1,01,779 people have already reached the state.
Vijayan also referred to the government warning that only 50 people should participate in weddings and 20 for funerals and said people have misintepreted the direction and were attending functions in batches in larger numbers, which cannot be allowed.
Stringent action would be taken against those who arrive in Kerala without registering in the web portal and a heavy fine would be imposed on them, besides a 28 day institutional quarantine,Vijayan said. So far 56,704 samples have been sent for testing, of which 54,836 have returned negative.
As of date, Kannur has 85 patients, the highest in the state, followed by Palakkad with 81. Malappuram has 51, Kasaragod 35, Thiruvananthapuram has 29 and Kozhikode has 26 cases.