Swab collection for COVID-19 test to be done at homes as Kerala aims to cut TPR

A healthcare worker collects a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test swab sample from a man, at a temporary shelter for the homeless in New Delhi, India, March 31, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has decided to enhance testing for coronavirus and samples will be collected from all houses in local bodies where the COVID-19 spread is double that of the State average.

The move is aimed at bringing the test positivity rate (TPR) down to three per cent. The decision to collect samples from all houses in areas hit badly by COVID-19 was made at a core committee meeting, chaired by Chief Secretary V P Joy, here on Tuesday.

The committee on Tuesday anticipated that the daily COVID-19 cases may cross the 40,000-mark soon. It has urged high alert in Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Thrissur and Kottayam districts in the coming days.

Kerala reported a record single-day spike of 19,577 COVID-19 positive cases with a TPR of 17.45 per cent on Tuesday, and enforced a statewide 9pm-5am curfew till May 3 to outpace and contain the spread of pandemic.

The State will also roll out the second massive two-day collection and testing of three lakh samples for the virus on Wednesday.

No weekend lockdown

The core committee meeting, which reviewed the COVID-19 situation, ruled out the need for weekend lockdown. The police, meanwhile, started the strict enforcement of the night curfew.

Director General of Police Loknath Behera appealed to people to stay indoors, barring emergency situations, during the curfew. Relaxation in curfew has been allowed for buying medicines, milk and other essentials, and essential services have been exempted.

The core committee found the availabilty of ICU and ventilator facilities in hospitals satisfactory. It also recommended genomics to understand the genetic mutation of the virus.

Registration must for second dose

Meanwhile, authorities made registration mandatory for receiving the second dose of the anti-COVID vaccine. Registration could be made over Cowin portal, www.cowin.gov.in. The decision was made in the backdrop of vaccine shortage that sparked arguments at several centres and to ensure a smooth immunization drive.

The State currently has a vaccine stock of five lakh doses, and it has demanded an additional five lakh immediately from the Centre. The shortage has impacted the functioning of major vaccination centres in several districts.

Shops till 9 pm

Shops in the State can function till 9 pm, but the working hours of large super markets, and movie halls, including multiplexes, have been curtailed till 7.30 pm, the Chief Secretary stated.

He added that a misinterpretation of the government order might have led the police to force shops to down shutters at 7.30 pm on Tuesday.

Bevco outlets to close early

The outlets of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) will close an hour early at 8 pm, in light of the curfew beginning at 9 pm. Authorities informed that the re-introduction of online booking for liquor is not under consideration now.

Last May Bevco had launched an app, BevQ, to allot e-tokens to consumers so that they can arrive at the allotted time to purchase the spirits.

ICSE cancels Class 10 exams

New Delhi: The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (ICSE) for Standard 10 students have been cancelled due to the severity of the COVID-19 spread. Instead, an effective evaluation system will be implemented.

It was earlier announced that ICSE Class 10 students could opt for either the special evaluation system or sit for exams offline alone with their Standard 12 counterparts.

The Council issued a directive to admit students to Standard 11. The exam dates for Standard 12 students will be announced in the first week of June.

PSC postpones exams

The State Public Service Commission (PSC) has postponed all examinations scheduled between May 4 and 7. New dates will be announced later.

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