Kerala in shutdown mode as more coronavirus cases emerge
Kerala has gone into the partial shutdown with the total number of people infected with coronavirus rising to 14. Many others have been isolated after showing symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Severe restrictions have been imposed on public gatherings and all educational institutions have been shut down till March 31 as the state tackles the virus.
The latest to test positive were parents of a three-year-old boy, who recently came back from one of the global coronavirus hot spots Italy. They have been kept in an isolation ward of a hospital in Kochi. Health officials said conditions of all infected people are stable and they are responding well to symptomatic treatment. As many as 1500 people are under observation, out of these 259 are admitted to various hospitals.
The state is keeping its fingers crossed as two dozen results are expected by Wednesday evening.
“We are fighting back with all the resources available. What we need is the co-operation of people. Two years back we had contained another dangerous virus nipah effectively. We will overcome this challenge also,” Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said late on Tuesday night.
The state is bracing for the arrival of more travelers from abroad as the situation is turning serious in countries like Italy. At least 42 people, who came from Italy, were quarantined in Kochi in the early hours of Wednesday.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had shot off a letter to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention to evacuate 45 Indians, mostly Keralites, stranded in Fiumicino (Rome) airport in Italy. They complained that airport officials told them India is insisting on certificates declaring they are free from virus.
Many social and religious bodies have also announced their support to the government. Two important shrines, Guruvayoor and Sabarimala, have scaled down their daily grind.
The Catholic Bishops Council has issued a special guideline to conduct prayers and offerings – important among them is devotees are being asked to receive holy communion, considered most sacrament, in the hand, not on the tongue. It has also advised believers to avoid large gatherings and masses.
Cinema halls have also announced closure and film units also suspended their shooting. Hotels and resorts have asked not to entertain foreign guests till further notice.
The state had reported India’s first three cases of coronavirus in January this year. They have now recovered fully. Two years back, Kerala had witnessed the outbreak of another dangerous virus, Nipah.