Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday said the state had no plan to impose a lockdown in seven districts as media reports suggested.
"The reports that it has been decided to impose a lockdown in seven districts are baseless. The state government has not decided to impose any new curb in the districts. However, officials have been directed to strictly follow the existing restrictions," he said in a Facebook post.
The CM issued the clarification after the lockdown of the districts was first announced by the Centre. In a release, it said 75 districts across the country, including seven in Kerala, will be shut to check the spread of coronavirus.
The CM said steps will be taken to implement more restrictions in Kasaragod district considering the special situation there. With 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases, Kasaragod is the most affected district in Kerala.
15 new cases reported in Kerala
As many as 15 more cases of COVID-19 were reported from Kerala on Sunday, taking the total number of novel coronavirus infected people in the state to 67. Of this, three had recovered from the virus earlier.
Of the 15 new cases, five are from Kasaragod, four from Kannur and two each from Ernakulam, Malappuram and Kozhikode, state Health Minister K K Shailaja said in a press statement.
The minister urged the public to keep extreme vigil to avoid the spread of the virus.
As on Sunday, 59,295 people are under observation for suspected infection. Of them, 58,981 people are home quarantined and 314 are hospitalised. A total of 9,776 people were exempted from surveillance on Sunday.
Kasaragod district has been locked down completely as five more COVID-19 cases were reported here on Sunday.
Only shops selling essential commodities like food can be opened in Kasaragod. Fuel pumps are allowed to function. People should not gather in restaurants. Kasaragod district collector has been given the permission to impose prohibitory orders in the district considering the situation.
75 districts to be locked down
The Centre decided to lock down 75 districts across the country at a high-level video conference called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday. Besides the prime minister's principal secretary, the conference was attended by the cabinet secretary and the chief secretaries of all states.
The decision came close on the heels of Indian Railways cancelling all long distance mail and express trains, and intercity trains (including premium ones) on March 22.
The states in which lockdown has been announced include Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The total number of novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 341 on Sunday after fresh cases were reported from various parts of the country.