The ban on assembly of more than five persons will continue till the end of this month. In some districts, gazetted officers from various government departments, other than revenue, police, health and local self-government departments which are already in the Covid-19 battle, have been appointed as executive magistrates after invoking the disaster management act.
Although prohibitory orders have been declared across Kerala, there is no ban on mobility of people or functioning of offices and trade centres.
Speaking at a function on Saturday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan warned of stringent measures and a steep hike in penalties for those violating Covid-19 protocols and social distancing norms. “There has been a lapse in vigil against the pandemic. Things have been taken without much seriousness. Hence, strict measures would be adopted. Testing would also be ramped up in the state in coming days,” he said.
On September 27, Kerala’s total active cases had been 56,709. Over the last one week, that figure grew to 80,818 as on Saturday.
The national data on coronavirus cases on Saturday morning showed that all states and UTs, except Kerala, have reported more recoveries than active cases over a 24-hour period. The daily growth rate of cases in Kerala is 4.1 per cent, compared to the national average of 1.3 per cent.
Kerala, which has an alarming test positivity rate of 14.41 per cent, is the only state which has a larger share of active cases than recovered ones in the total confirmed cases. On Saturday, the state had 36 per cent active cases, while the figure at the national level was 14 per cent.
This indicates that while all other states are on the fast track to normal life, with active cases going down each day, Kerala’s burden is increasing.
Two months ago, when Covid-19 cases saw a spike with the formation of over 100 clusters, the government had given a larger role to police even for contract tracing and ensuring compliance of quarantine norms. However, that shift in strategy, from the earlier plan involving community participation, has failed to reap results apart from it running into controversy over police collecting call record details of patients.
In the first week of August itself, the test positivity rate had gone beyond 10 in many districts even as the health department strived to bring down that figure to below 2 per cent. However, the state could not contain the growth in daily cases since then.
Of 2.21 lakh cases reported so far, only 9 per cent have either inter-state or international travel history. The rest, 91 per cent, have got infected locally.