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Kerala Govt Sets Date for Decision on Total Lockdown as Coronavirus Cases Surge

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

The state had recorded 1,038 cases on Wednesday, of which 785 were through contacts. The source of infection of 57 people was not known.

The Kerala government is likely to take a decision on implementing a complete state-wide lockdown after the special cabinet meeting planned for Monday.

The state cabinet met on Thursday to discuss the lockdown plan, but Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will also take on board suggestions from opposition leaders at an all-party meet on Friday called to discuss the Covid-19 crisis. The CM is also discussing the issue with medical experts, as well as religious and spiritual leaders.

The southern state, which had in May managed to flatten the curve, has witnessed a huge spike in cases recently and reported more than 1,000 cases in a single day for the first time on Wednesday.

The state had recorded 1,038 cases on Wednesday, of which 785 were through contacts. The source of infection of 57 people was not known.

Of the 8,818 active cases in the state, 53 are in ICU and nine are on ventilator support.

The government has already imposed a lockdown in Thiruvananthapuram city area till July 28, and in coastal areas. The Aluva cluster in Ernakulam is also under curfew.

Sources said that the big concern is that cases with no known source are increasing, and officials say a lockdown will help in curbing this. But the expert committee's recommendation will also be considered before taking a decision, they said.

The state cabinet has, meanwhile, decided to defer the assembly session scheduled for July 27 because of the increasing cases. The assembly session was supposed to convene for a day to pass the Finance Bill.

The government has also implemented a new discharge protocol, under which patients that are asymptomatic or have mild infection and are being treated at Covid First Line Treatment Centers will undergo antigen test after 10 days and they will be discharged if they test negative. Earlier, an RTPCR test was conducted and patients were discharged only if it turned negative.

first published:July 23, 2020, 14:58 IST