Kerala sitting atop a volcano: CM

Hints that Kerala might be in for a protracted season of restrictions

Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala is sitting atop a volcano of mounting COVID-19 cases, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said.

Hence, it was incumbent on citizens to stymie a sudden eruption of new cases, he said on Saturday.

If coronavirus infections surged beyond the safety threshold, the outbreak would overrun the State’s finite health care resources. Kerala could not risk such an eventuality, he said.

Caution and not alarm was the need of the hour. People should return to the basics. “Wear masks, maintain physical distance, avoid closed spaces, do not congregate, and postpone non-essential events”, he said. The police would prosecute those who disseminate alarmist messages.

Mr. Vijayan hinted the State was in the long haul for an extended period of restrictions on civic life. The CM did not set any time frame. But, he urged people to hold off unessential events “for at least a month”.

The CM also said the government would further restrict the number of attendees at weddings. Currently, 75 persons could participate. The administration had also banned communal feasting.

Mr. Vijayan said people arriving in the State should quarantine themselves mandatorily. A mutated version of the seemed responsible for the aggressive second wave of infections.

The CM said there was no room for any laxity. Local bodies should step up the break the chain campaign in rural localities. The weekend lockdown did not affect Higher Secondary examinations and training for election officials. The police on Friday booked 22,703 persons for violating the mask mandate.

When pressed about Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala’s suggestion to airlift supplemental oxygen from Kerala to New Delhi, Mr. Vijayan said, “Kerala could not presume that it had the resources to solve the issues of other States. However, Kerala was willing to spare other States, including New Delhi, medical oxygen or other essentials if State registered a surplus”.

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