Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his six cabinet colleagues, who visited the site of the plane crash in Kozhikode, went into quarantine Friday after senior officials involved in the rescue operation tested positive for Covid-19, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) informed.
Late on Friday, the Chief Minister and four other ministers tested negative for Covid-19 in a rapid (genexpert) test, but they would continue to remain in isolation. Test results of two ministers are yet to come.
Health Minister K K Shailaja and ministers A C Moideen, E Chandrasekharan, V S Sunil Kumar, Kadannappally Ramachandran and K T Jaleel went into quarantine. Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan, too, went into quarantine.
The chief minister and the ministers visited the site of the crash last Saturday and held discussions with officials in Malappuram, including district collector K Gopalakrishnan. On Friday, Gopalakrishnan and 20 other officials in the district tested positive for Covid-19. Malappuram SP U Abdul Kareem has also tested positive.
The CMO said Vijayan would keep away from the Independence Day celebrations in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday.
Kerala on Friday reported 1,569 new cases, taking the number of active cases to 14,104.
The health department has predicted a sharp hike in the state’s Covid-19 caseload in the coming weeks. Quoting a projection, Health Minister Shailaja said experts have predicted that “the state would report daily cases between 10,000 and 20,000 in the coming weeks”. “When the number of patients increases, there would be corresponding increase in the number of deaths also,’’ she said.
Urging people to join Covid Brigade — a group of volunteers to assist in the fight against the pandemic — the minister said in a video, “We need more volunteers to work at first-line Covid treatment centres. Both medical and non-medical persons should join the Brigade. We want doctors, nurses and other professionals such as management graduates to join as volunteers. This is going to emerge as a model for the world.’’
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