(Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)

Kochi: Just as it appeared that the Coronavirus outbreak in Kerala was in control, there has been a sudden spike in the number of reported cases, mostly in the northern parts of the state.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced after an evening review meeting that 12 new cases of positive results have been reported for the day. Five of them are foreigners while six are residents of Kasargod district. One case was reported in Palakkad district.

The number of people under observation have jumped from about 26,000 a day before to 44,390. While 44,165 of them are under isolation in their homes, 225 are undergoing quarantine in hospitals. As many as 56 people were admitted to hospitals on Friday alone,

All government offices have been closed for a week and all places of worship made out of bounds for devotees.

The state board exams for Class X, XI and XII, currently on, have been postponed and fresh dates will be decided after March 31.

All university exams, too, have been postponed.

The sudden deterioration is attributed to a coronavirus-hit person coming from Dubai throwing all safeguards to winds and interacting with people. He attended a number of public functions.

He landed at the Karippur airport in Kozhikode, stayed in the town for the day and left for Kasargod the next day. Then he attended a football tournament and domestic functions, including birthday parties and funerals, for which he travelled widely in the district.

Five members of a British tourist group returning from a trip to tourist destination Munnar were confirmed positive.

What is causing serious concern is that all the affected persons are aged between 60 and 80. But luckily, all those who came into contact with them have been located and put under observation.

The chief minister announced that the state government would entirely cooperate with the call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Janata curfew on Sunday. State transport buses will remain off the roads while a large number of trains have been cancelled.

The state health authorities have launched a crash programme to expand the testing and observation facilities by enlisting the support of private hospitals.

The state government also reversed its decision to go ahead with the SSLC and plus-two examinations. A high level meeting held under the chief minister considered the impropriety of the state examinations going on as scheduled while the central government had announced postponement of all examinations in the country.

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