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The Kerala government on Friday decided to extend the ongoing lockdown for one more week in view of the rising cases of Covid-19, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
Addressing the media through a virtual meet he said the state was passing through a critical phase and the government had been compelled to extend the lockdown.
The eight-day lockdown was due to end on May 16 but now it will be in force till May 23. The CM said triple lockdown (strict restrictions like curfew) will be in force in four worst-hit districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram. Earlier the core committee on the pandemic and the Indian Medical Association had sought extension of the lockdown in view of the high test positivity rate in the state.
On Friday, Kerala reported 34,696 new Covid-19 cases with a TPR of 26.41 per cent after 1,13,375 people were tested. It also reported 93 deaths taking the death toll to 6243. The active caseload also climbed to 4,42,194 in the state. Thiruvananthapuram district topped the list with 4,567 cases followed by Malappuram with 3,997 cases and Ernakulam with 3,855 new infections. Among those infected, 112 are health workers. Though most of the frontline warriors including health workers have been vaccinated, the second bout of infection has raised worries among medical experts. In some areas the second bout of infection is more than 10 per cent, they said.
“Experts say the remaining two weeks are critical for the state. So we need extra caution. We have to rise up to the occasion and we will overcome this also,” said the CM adding that in the four worst-affected districts curbs will be strengthened further to reduce the high TPR.
The government has also capped the price of essential products and warned strict action against offenders and hoarders. N-95 masks will be priced at ₹22, triple layer surgical mask ₹4, a PPE kit for ₹273, face shield for ₹21 and fingertip pulse oximeter for ₹1500. Earlier the government had capped charges of private hospitals after many cases of fleecing patients were reported.