Following violation of Covid norms during Secretariat canteen elections, 55 cases spark tension

Earlier last week, officials gathered in large numbers to cast their votes for the Secretariat canteen board election, and visuals of the incident showed that many had violated Covid-19 protocols
Following violation of Covid norms during Secretariat canteen elections, 55 cases spark tension

Around 55 employees have tested positive for Covid-19 in the Secretariat. The employees are from the public and legal departments of the secretariats. While it started with officials from the finance department testing positive, officials from the other departments soon followed suit. The high number of cases of Covid 19 at the Secretariat could be due to the canteen election that was conducted last week.

Earlier last week, officials gathered in large numbers to cast their votes for the Secretariat canteen board election. Media visuals of the event showed that many had violated Covid-19 protocol by not donning their masks properly and not maintaining social distance.

Following the spike, the secretariat staff housing cooperative is closed. The Secretariat Action Council has called for an increase in the number of Covid-19 tests and a reduction of 50% in staff attendance.

For a month now, three gates of the Secretariat have been closed as part of a drive to keep the public and media out. If somebody has to enter through any of these gates, an official from the Secretariat has to make a call and recommend it. This safety protocol at the Secretariat was aimed at reducing the spread of Coronavirus.

Earlier, health experts had warned the state government to act immediately, or else the situation would get out of control as the number of Covid-19 cases has doubled in the last few days. On Thursday, Kerala reported 6,102 fresh Covid-19 cases and the test positivity rate was 7.26 per cent.

Yeaterday, a massive gathering at the public adalat organised by the Kerala government, and attended by Health Minister KK Shailaja, has caused worrying levels of Covid violations. The event, organised at Thalliparamba in Kannur, has witnessed people of many ages rushing in, especially as the organisers failed to accommodate the numbers.

While the organisers claimed that the rush was because people from other locations had gathered, the complainants who attended the event alleged that there was rush from the beginning. The latter added that the organisers did not even have proper mechanism in place to handle such an expected crowd, despite the same having happened in Alappuzha and Kollam. There were not enough sanitisers, and the seats were not arranged to accommodate social distancing. Moreover, the organisers only started to try to maintain crowds after media entered the scene.

Apart from Shailaja, Industries Minister EP Jayarajan and others were also present at the event. However, despite the many violations of Covid protocols at the event, the Thalliparamba Inspector Sathyanath reportedly refused to comment on the issue, especially in the backdrop of how they have refused to take any action against the organisers.

Interestingly, this is the same location where police took a suo moto action against several UDF leaders for alleged Covid-19 allegations at the front’s Aishwarya Kerala Yatra. Police registered cases against 26 UDF leaders and over 400 members for violating Covid protocols. Moreover, police have also filed cases against protestors who had blocked Twenty20 chief coordinator Sabu M Jacob’s car while he was on his way to attend the planning committee meeting of the Mazhuvanoor grama panchayat. Over 400 people have been named in the chargesheet, for violating Covid norms.

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