Kerala for the fourth day in a row has recorded more than 20,000 fresh COVID-19 cases and 116 more people have succumbed to the infection on Friday. Besides, the test positivity rate (TPR) has risen to 13.61 per cent.
With 20,772 fresh coronavirus cases on Friday, the caseload in the state has reached 33,70,137 and the 116 deaths pushed the total casualties to 16,701, a state government release said. As many as 14,651 people have been cured of the infection, taking the total recoveries to 31,92,104 and the number of active cases in the state to 1,60,824.
Some of the worst affected districts in the state are Malappuram (3670), Kozhikode (2470), Ernakulam (2306), Thrissur (2287), Palakkad (2070), Kollam (1415), Alappuzha (1214), Kannur (1123), Thiruvananthapuram (1082) and Kottayam (1030).
Of the new cases, 81 are health workers, 137 had come from outside the state and 19,622 were infected through contact with the source of contact being not clear in 932 cases, the release said.
There are currently 4,56,951 people under surveillance in various districts of the state. Of these, 4,29,118 are in home or institutional quarantine and 27,833 in hospitals.
Rahul Gandhi urges people in Kerala to follow COVID-19 guidelines
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the rising COVID-19 cases in Kerala are worrying and urged people to follow all safety measures.
"Rising cases of Coronavirus infections in Kerala are worrying. I appeal to our brothers and sisters in the state to follow all safety measures and guidelines. Please take care," the Wayanad MP tweeted.
Kerala govt announces Rs 5,650 Cr package to assist small-scale traders, farmers
Kerala's Finance Minister K N Balagopal on Friday announced a financial package of Rs 5,650 crore in the state Assembly, to assist small-scale traders and farmers of the state.
"This package is to provide assistance to small-scale traders and farmers of the state who have been adversely affected by the pandemic," Balagopal said.
He said the state government has decided to provide subsidised loans and announced new loan schemes under the Kerala Financial Corporation (KFC) and the Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE).
"We will be giving very subsidised loans. The state government will bear the four per cent of the interest of loans for six months for the loans up to Rs two lakh," Balagopal said.
The government has also announced loan waiver and low interest loan facilities as part of the package.
He said the state government has also decided to help small-scale businesses by forgoing the rent from the shops and buildings owned by the state government for the period from July to December 31 this year.
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises have been given a building tax exemption from July to December 31.
"It will be helpful for the small medium entrepreneurs. We have asked the bankers to provide loans as the state government is giving interest subvention. Traders can avail loan for a smaller interest per cent," he said.
This is the third financial package announced by the Kerala government to tackle the economic crisis due to the pandemic.
Balagopal said the state government has decided to provide loans up to Rs one crore at five per cent interest rate for 500 business enterprises a year.
"This is available to young entrepreneurs under the age of 50," he said.
The government has also announced a moratorium of one year for the loans taken by small-scale enterprises.
(With PTI inputs)
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