Kerala sees highest single-day spike with 62 new coronavirus cases
The state has reported 794 Covid-19 positive cases, of which 275 are still active, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Saturday.Updated: May 23, 2020 19:49 IST
Kerala recorded 62 new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases on Saturday, the highest single-day spike since the viral outbreak was first reported in the state in end-January, raising concern for the state government to call an all-party meeting on Wednesday to discuss strategies to fight the pandemic.
The state has reported 794 Covid-19 positive cases, of which 275 are still active, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Saturday. Among the 62 new cases, 18 people have returned from abroad, 31 came back from other states, while 13 contracted SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, in Kerala, the CM said.
The state government is also worried that seven healthcare workers have tested Covid-19 positive among the 62 new cases. The authorities have declared nine more places in the state as hotspots, where strict containment measures have been enforced.
Palakkad district has reported the maximum number of new Covid-19 positive cases at 19, followed by Kannur in north Kerala (16).
“A spike in Covid-19 positive cases was expected, as people have started returning to their native places from abroad and other states amid the easing of lockdown restrictions. We’ve to strengthen our containment measures. People and society need to play a bigger role. If we enforce quarantine norms strictly, we can win this war,” the CM said while announcing that an all-party meeting has been called on Wednesday to tackle the pandemic.
Earlier, the Congress had criticised the CM for “taking all decisions unilaterally” and the opposition was never consulted.
Kerala is likely to report more Covid-19 positive cases in the coming days, as domestic flight service operations, which were suspended since the lockdown restrictions were imposed on March 25, will resume from Monday.
However, the state government has made it clear that it would insist upon entry passes and compulsory home quarantine facility for all domestic air passengers. Those who fail to obtain passes would have to undergo institutional quarantine for two weeks.
The state government’s proposed move is at odds with Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, who has said that domestic air travellers need not be quarantined, as they would travel by short-haul flights.
The state government has tightened its surveillance norms and taking strict action against those who flout quarantine norms. Over 200 people have been booked in the last two days for violating home quarantine norms. The state government recently launched a motorbike squad to monitor people, who are under quarantine at home.
Besides, the authorities are strict about letting people travel from the worst Covid-19-hit states in the country such as Gujarat, as a Shramik Special train was twice rescheduled and cancelled last week. Though the Gujarat government had said the trains were cancelled at Kerala’s behest, CM Vijayan skirted the issue.