The health department has laid off 432 health workers including 385 doctors for staying away from service for too long without authorisation, during the pandemic.

A health worker at the lab checking a testing sample in white PPE kit
Coronavirus Coronavirus Saturday, October 17, 2020 - 19:53

More than a hundred health workers – 103 to be specific -- are among those newly infected with the coronavirus in Kerala on Saturday. The state reported 9,016 new cases on Saturday, from 52,067 samples tested in the last 24 hours. There are now 96,004 active cases, with 7,991 recoveries also recorded on Saturday, said a release from the office of Health Minister KK Shailaja.

The health department has earlier said that it was laying off 432 health workers including 385 doctors since they were staying away from service without authorisation. They were staying away at a time their service was most required during COVID-19 and had not heeded repeated warnings from the department, said a release.

The situation continues to remain severe with three districts accounting for over 1,000 cases each on Saturday - Malappuram recording 1,519, Thrissur 1,109 and Ernakulam 1,022. Thiruvananthapuram, which had earlier reported the most number of cases in consecutive weeks, has on Saturday recorded 848 infections. Kozhikode has 926 fresh cases.

There have also been 26 deaths across districts, taking the total toll to 1,140. The deceased included a 103-year-old, two aged over 90; there were 14 people who were over 60 years old. Worryingly, a 26 year old is also among the casualties. However, the state has also recorded recoveries of people as old as 110 – a woman from Manjeri in Malappuram having survived the disease in August end.

Of the positive cases, 127 had come from outside the state, 7,464 were infected through contact and the source of infection of 1,321 was not yet known, the minister said. As opposed to the early days, very few cases are now imported from elsewhere to the state and most transmissions have been happening locally, since June.

At least 2,76,900 people are under observation in various districts, including 24,965 in hospitals.

So far, 38,80,795 samples have so far been sent for testing, with over a 50,000 tested on most of the recent days.

Eight new areas were included in the hotspots list and 18 removed.

Twenty cases were registered for flouting prohibitory orders and 23 were arrested, a police press release said.

Cases were registered against 1,699 people for violating COVID-19 protocol and 609 people were arrested, it said.

(With PTI input)

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