Kerala on high alert over coronavirus, keeps schools and colleges shut

Topics Kerala | Coronavirus | Schools

All public functions at which people gather in large numbers have to be avoided | File photo
At a special cabinet meeting held on Tuesday to assess coronavirus infection in the state, the Kerala government has decided go on high alert and has ordered all school classes up to eighth standard to remain closed till March 31. The government is assessing the economic losses due to the infection in the State, said State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have asked Keralites heading to these countries to join duty for Corona certificates stating that they have not been infected in order to be let in. The State government has sought the Centre's intervention in the matter and the Centre has agreed to take necessary steps.

Examinations for classes 8 to 12 will be held as per the schedule, but the those till class 7 will not be conducted. For those who are under observation for the infection, arrangements have been made to conduct exams in separate rooms. The state has called for the temporary closure of tuition classes and special classes and have asked Madrassas, Anganwadis and tutorials to suspend classes till March 31. Food for Anganwadi students has to be served at their homes. Classes at professional colleges and other institutions, including those run by CBSE have also been suspended for the month. 

All public functions at which people gather in large numbers have to be avoided. The state has said marriages and festivals should be conducted with minimum public presence. Rituals can be held in temples such as Sabarimala and other religious institutions by restricting the number of attendees. Public funtions organised by the government have been postponed.

"Government is intervening with vigilance. However, in order to prevent the infection from spreading, ordinary measures aren't enough. The government and the people should work together to control the situation," Vijayan told reporters today. "We are assessing the economic loss of the state due to this. The cabinet has discussed this ïssue today.

COVID 19 has spread to 102 countries so far. In Kerala, six more people have recently been infected, taking the total count to 15. Three of these have been cured completely. Of the 12 still under treatment, four are from Italy and the rest are those who were in touch with them. At present 1,116 patients are under observation. Of these, 967 are quarantined at home and 149 in hospitals. A total of 807 samples have been sent for testing of which 717 have been diagnosed as negative. The results for the rest are yet to come.

The government is taking measures to strengthen surveillance at airports and is increasing staff count. As more people will be working from their homes, efforts are being made to improve the quality and reach of broadband internet. District collectors have been assigned to ensure Food is being delivered to families under observation.

Plans are to produce more sanitisers. While there is little evidence to suggest face masks are effective in preventing infection, they are nevertheless quite popular and the state will take measures to increase their availability. Foreigners need to report to the authorities every day, and passenger data will be collected from airlines on the travel history of those who fly down to the state. Those working abroad may not be able to head back to their jobs due to travel curbs. The State government has escalated the matter to the Centre to ensure their jobs are secure.

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