On the eve of a statewide total lockdown in Kerala, 38,460 new COVID cases and 26,662 recoveries were reported.
With this, the number of active COVID cases in the state rose to 4,02,650.
Of the new cases, 35,402 contracted the virus through contact while 370 came from outside the state and 115 are healthcare workers.
A total of 1,44,345 samples were tested in the last 24 hours, according to a statement released by the Health Department. So far, 1,67,60,815 samples have been sent for testing.
With each day, cases are climbing in Ernakulam, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. On Friday, these districts reported 5361, 4200 and 3950 cases respectively.
The test positivity rate, i.e. the number of people likely to contract the virus in a group of 100, in the state has also surged to 26.64.
Fifty-four COVID deaths were also reported in the state. With this, the COVID death toll in the state rose to 5,682. There are currently 10,50,633 people under observation across the state. Of them, 10,20,652 are under home or institutional quarantine while 29,981 are in hospitals.
So far, 14,16,177 have been cured of the disease in the state.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, during his sunset briefing from Thiruvananthapuram, urged all to assist the state's fight against the pandemic by following the guidelines issued by the Health Department.
On total lockdown
In addition to a slew of measures already announced for the lockdown beginning Friday midnight, Vijayan issued a few more to see to the strict implementation of COVID guidelines in the state.
“We were forced to impose another lockdown as earlier curbs were found to be ineffective,” Vijayan said. “Only essential and emergency travel will be allowed during this period.”
If at all someone needs to travel to another district, he or she must have a self-declaration letter detailing the reason for travel and a government-approved ID card.
This inter-district travel restriction, however, won't apply to trucks and lorries carrying essentials.
The government has also introduced free ration kits during this period.
“Free ration kits will be distributed in the state soon. There will also be kits for guest workers in the state,” Vijayan said.
• Those who want to travel during the lockdown period must get a travel pass from the police.
• Those who are coming from other states must register on the Covid-19 Jagrata portal.
• Street food is banned in the state till May 16.
• People should use double mask while going out and interact with outsiders.
• Vehicle service stations and other repair centres can be opened on Saturday and Sunday.
• Banks can function on alternate days - Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
• Gatherings at homes, offices should be avoided.
The government will take strict action against those selling pulse oxygen metres at a high price, Vijayan said. He also informed that the State has 6,008 oxygen cylinders and 220.09mt oxygen. Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) storage is available at 8 government hospitals.
Strict action against fake News, COVID guidelines violation
Vijayan warned people against sharing fake news on social media. “The police has been directed to take cases against those spreading fake news,” Vijayan said.
The high-tech crime inquiry centre at police headquarters and cyber-domes in Kozhikode, Kochi and Ernakulam have been pressed into service to quell fake news in the state.
Vijayan also urged everyone to wear double masks while going out or interacting with outsiders.
“Wear masks and ensure social distance is maintained,” Vijayan said. “Strict action will be taken against those flouting these basic guidelines,” he added.
A total of 22,325 cases were registered on Friday for not wearing masks and 12,684 cases for not maintaining social distance. “Over Rs 64 lakhs were collected as fine,” Vijayan said.
Over 25,000 police personnel has been deployed in the state for COVID duties.
On vaccination for 18-45 age group
On vaccination drive, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Kerala will not vaccinate the 18-45 age group at one go. He said that though Kerala has asked for one crore vials from the centre, only a fraction of that would reach this month.
“This will be distributed on a priority basis. Those with co-morbidities in the 18-45 age bracket will get preference,” Vijayan said.
Here's the district-wise break-up of today's cases:
Ernakulam - 5,361 (contact cases - 5,238)
Kozhikode - 4,200 (4,067)
Thiruvananthapuram - 3,950 (3,657)
Malappuram - 3,949 (3,615)
Thrissur - 3,738 (3,711)
Kannur - 3,139 (2,981)
Palakkad - 2,968 (1,332)
Kollam - 2,422 (2,411)
Alappuzha - 2,160 (2,153)
Kottayam - 2,153 (1,981)
Pathanamthitta - 1,191 (1,130)
Wayanad - 1,173 (1,127)
Idukki - 1,117 (1,091)
Kasaragod - 939 (908)
Here's the district-wise break-up of today's recoveries:
Malappuram - 3,224
Palakkad - 3,200
Kozhikode - 3,194
Kottayam - 3,063
Ernakulam - 2,735
Thiruvananthapuram - 2,363
Thrissur - 1,837
Alappuzha - 1,745
Kannur - 1,664
Kollam - 1,405
Pathanamthitta - 860
Kasaragod - 704
Idukki - 391
Wayanad - 277