Kerala: Even as Kerala is witnessing the highest number of COVID cases in the country, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan ruled out a complete lockdown stating that "it will create a huge crisis for the economy and livelihoods".
"No one supports measures like statewide lockdown. This will create a huge crisis for the economy and livelihoods. Expert opinion is that we need to build social immunity and move back to normal. Caution should not be compromised at all," he said while addressing local body officials.
He said that neighbourhood monitoring committees would be set up for COVID-19 prevention comprising government officials, local volunteers and residence associations.
"Local care is paramount. Restrictions should be enforced under the leadership of the Neighborhood Monitoring Committee, Rapid Response Team, Ward Level Committee, Police and Sectoral Magistrate. Intervention to reduce the spread should be done in each area. Everyone in contact with those who are positive should be monitored. If the local bodies, the people's representatives and the officials are as active as they were in the first phase, we will be able to bring things back to normal as soon as possible," he said.
The Chief Minister said that while the test positivity rate was between 18 and 20 per cent, Kerala was able to keep the death rate at 0.5 per cent.
"Those who are under quarantine in the homes should not go out. Such persons will be fined. Committees, including ward level committees, should prioritize the provision of medicines, essentials and treatment for non-Covid diseases to areas declared as containment zones," Chief Minister said.
Kerala continues to register a record number of COVID-19 infections with the state reporting 29,322 new cases and 131 deaths on Friday. As per the state health department, the total death toll mounted to 21,280.
The state's cumulative caseload stands at 2,46,437 including 38,83,186 recoveries. According to the state health bulletin, 1,63,691 samples were tested in the last 24 hours with a test positivity rate of 17.91 per cent.
At a time when COVID-19 cases in other parts of the country have declined after the ravaging second wave, Kerala continues to contribute a majority of infections to India's fresh daily count for the past several days.
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