For the first time since the outbreak of COVID-19, Kerala has recorded a three digit figure for the new cases reported on a single day – 111. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan did not mince his words when he said how serious this spike is. In the last five days, the number of new cases reported on a single day increased from 57 on June 1 to 111 on June 5. It shows people need to exercise severe caution, he said.
Ninety eight of the 111 patients are of people who have come from other countries and states to their hometown in Kerala. Ten others got it through contact. Three health workers are also affected. Since the borders have been opened, 1,77,033 people have come to the state from other countries and states.
Twenty two people tested negative on Friday. The total number of people under treatment now is 973, and 712 people have recovered so far. There have been 15 deaths in the state so far.
There are 128 hotspots in the state now.
Tests are being done regularly for those under observation, those coming under sentinel surveillance and those in the vulnerable categories. As many as 1,04,045 samples have been tested in all so far, and antibody tests shall also be done, with the kits provided by the Indian Council of Medical Research.
It is in this situation, the CM said, that more relaxations are being brought. The Centre has said that places of worship, restaurants and shopping malls could be opened, following certain guidelines, from June 8.
He read out the guidelines to be followed, adding that discussions were held with different religious leaders to decide on the functioning of worship centres. Every precaution to be followed in public places will be in place for places of worship as well, including masks and keeping a distance of six feet between each other. Holy water shall not be sprinkled and offerings will not be issued. Prayer mats should be brought from home. Idols and holy books shall not be touched.
For the Sabarimala pilgrimage, devotees can book their places using a virtual queue system, he said.
In restaurants, servers shall wear gloves and masks and disinfect the tables every time the customers using one leave. Disposable menu cards are to be used. In malls and worship centres, names and details of every visitor shall be recorded. Children’s gaming arcades and cinema halls in malls shall remain closed.
Hotels receiving guests shall also follow all the guidelines and payments are to be made online.
The CM also spoke of the guidelines to be followed in offices, with the vulnerable categories such as older people, pregnant women and persons with co-morbidities advised to take extra precaution or be given work from home options as far as possible.
In all cases, people above 65 years or below 10 years of age are not to be allowed.