Kerala shuts schools, colleges for March

Kerala has shut down all schools and colleges this month with the exception of examinations for classes 8 to 12.

“All classes from 1-7 will be shut for the entire month,” Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

The move will be applicable to all schools of all boards.

Exams of classes up to 7th standard need not be held this month, the chief minister said.

Anganwadis, nurseries, hobby and tuition centers and other institutions too have to be shut.

The food distributed via anganwadis will be distributed directly to the children’s homes.

He also said all religious festivals that can be postponed or avoided have to be pushed back.

“Let religious festivals and ceremonies be done symbolically.. let mass gatherings be avoided. That is what is required right now,” he said.

Vijayan appealed to devotees not to throng any religious place, including at Sabarimala.

The chief minister said this should be seen as an appeal instead of a direction.

He also asked school authorities to avoid holding any function, including anniversaries and talent shows.

Plays, film theaters etc should also be avoided, he said. It is not clear if they will be forcibly shut or whether it is an advisory only.

Weddings should be conducted on a smaller scale and under strict control of the organizers, he said.

All outreach functions of the government also stand postponed.

No decision was taken in an all-party meeting on whether to cancel the ongoing session of the state legislature, he added.

“Now is a crucial time. We have to control it now. Once it spreads, it cannot be brought back under control,” Pinarayi Vijayan warned.

“Even a small negligence from your side can endanger the whole state,” he said.

A total of 12 patients are being treated for Covid 19 in Kerala, including six new cases confirmed today.

Another 1,116 people are under observation, including around 150 in hospitals and the remaining at home.

Most of the 150 people in hospitals show symptoms of infection.

Vijayan also repeated the request for people to come forward in case they have come from any of the affected countries.

“Such people should stay isolated at their homes without interacting with others,” he said.

He said those who hide crucial details about their symptoms or whether they have come from will invite punitive action.

Coronavirus testing has been set up at Thiruvanthapuram and Calicut Medical Colleges, and such facilities will be expanded to all airports.

He also warned against rumor mongering and said people who are under isolation and quarantine will be given financial support if their work is disrupted.

Kerala Govt is also exploring the possibility of sourcing extra masks and sanitizers, the chief minister said.

The chief minister also asked telecom operators to make sure that customers continue to get access to the internet.