Kerala introduces further relaxations in restrictions amidst fear of a fresh wave of Covid-19 cases

Schools, tuition centres, and training centres are to open, while banks will resume their pre-Covid schedule
For representation purpose
For representation purpose

The Kerala government has instructed teachers of Classes X and XII to return to schools with 50 per cent attendance starting December 17. While digital classes for students of class X have to be completed by January 15, classes for students of class XII should be finished by January 30. Revision classes and practical classes will be held after arrangements are made at the schools after this. This decision was reached at a meeting attended by Education Minister C Raveendranath and the Public Education Secretary.

Meanwhile, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority announced on Tuesday that tuition centres, computer centres, dance schools and trade-based training centres can start functioning. However, these institutions can maintain only 50 per cent student strength at a time. The maximum number of students allowed is 100.

Moreover, the State Level Bankers Committee, which had earlier declared Saturdays as a holiday for banks under the efforts to prevent the Covid-19 spread, has announced that banks in Kerala will henceforth be open on the first, third and fifth Saturdays.

Kerala, on Tuesday, recorded 24 deaths due to Covid-9 taking the official toll to 2,095 and recorded 5,420 fresh cases making the number of active cases in the state climb up to 64,412.

Four regions — Ananganadi and Pattithara in Palakkad, Ayarkunnam in Kottayam and Pramadom in Pathanamthitta — were added as hotspots yesterday taking the total to 556 hotspots in the state.

BBC, in a recent report, quoted Dr Arun N Madhavan, a Kerala-based general medicine physician, on under-reporting being rampant in the state. Dr Arun had observed that patients who tested negative “just before they died” and did not belong to Kerala were not counted. He added that three patients — all men, aged between 65 and 78 — came to his clinic with symptoms and died in hospital in October during treatment. “Their deaths didn't come up in the media or the official count. All of us are missing deaths, but the government is missing them the most,” he told BBC.

For representation purpose
Kerala underreporting Covid deaths by almost half, claims BBC report

As the threat of a new wave of Covid-19 looms across the country, the Kerala government is in jitters. According to an assessment by health officials, the state will most likely witness the curve bending till the middle of December and that there might be a steep rise in cases after the local body elections.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in his daily meet with the media on Tuesday said that the laxity in maintaining physical distancing during the election campaigning could turn a disaster for the state. He said that the state government has been warned by experts that hotels, restaurants and wayside eateries are likely to emerge as the new epicentres of the Covid-19 spread. “Hotels, restaurants and wayside eateries have started functioning in a full-fledged manner. Crowding and violation of physical distancing norms have been noticed. This can’t be allowed. Stringent actions will be initiated against the violators,” said Pinarayi, adding that the Covid-19 regulations implemented at Sabarimala shrine for preventing the virus spread are proving to be effective.

In the meantime, Kerala Medical Services Corporation, which had bought one Lakh antigen kits from Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions, has sent back over 30,000 of the kits due to poor quality. More than 70 per cent of the Covid testing in the state is done via rapid antigen kits despite instructions been given to increase the RT-PCR tests.

The NationWide