Kerala reports 84 new cases, incl. 31 from Maharashtra

Kerala today reported 84 new COVID-19 cases, including 31 each from Maharashtra and an equal number from outside the country.

Out of the 84 people detected with COVID-19 today, 48 came from other states.

Only 5 people from Kerala tested positive. It is not clear how many of these five caught the virus from the visitors, and whether any of them caught the virus from any unknown source.

With this, the total number of active COVID-19 cases in Kerala has risen to 526, with the border district of Palakkad reporting the highest number.

A total of 219 people were moved to hospital isolation for testing due to symptoms today.

The numbers come in the wake of a warning by an expert panel that Kerala was very close to seeing community transmission of the disease.

Pinarayi Vijayan today said that he can give no assurance that Kerala will not enter community transmission stage.

“We have decided to test those who report flu-like symptoms as well,” he said. Earlier, the state tested only those who had travel or contact history that made them likely to have contracted the virus.

A total of 1.2 lakh people have come to the state from outside over the last four weeks, including around 12,000 from outside the country.

The vast majority of these people are undergoing quarantine at their homes.

As of now, only those who arrive without registering on the government portal and those that arrive from foreign countries have to undergo quarantine at government monitored buildings.

The Chief Minister has repeatedly urged citizens to ensure that people who are in quarantine continue to observe quarantine guidelines closely.

Almost 500 people have so far been prosecuted for violating home quarantine rules. Within this, about 55% of the violations were detected with the aid of technology, including cellular signals.

Around a third of the cases were detected during house visits by health officials, ASHA workers and so on, while the remaining were detected after tip-offs by their neighbors.

The Chief Minister asked everyone to make sure that those who are supposed to stay home as part of observing quarantine are indeed doing so.

Kerala has a policy of alerting all the neighbors before an entry pass is issued to someone to enter the state from outside.

Vijayan also said that Kerala was initially getting only a limited number of swab test kits, which forced the state to be selective about who it tested for the virus.

He said the number of tests are now being ramped up.