Kerala clamps down on public gatherings as COVID-19 resurfaces

Government constrained to impose limits till March 31, says CM

Updated - March 10, 2020 03:23 pm IST

Published - March 10, 2020 02:33 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan


Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said the government was constrained to impose limits on public gatherings till March 31 to prevent further spread of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

He said 12 persons in Kerala have tested positive for the infection (COVID-19) after the virus resurfaced in Pathanamthitta district last week. Four of a family had arrived there from Italy, a coronavirus hotspot, and inadvertently infected eight others.

They appeared to have concealed their travel history from authorities. Mr. Vijayan said the State could ill afford to brook such negligence given the risk of contagion.

As many as 1216 persons are under surveillance across the State, of which 967 are confined to their houses. The government had sent samples drawn from 807 patients to check for coronavirus. He said 714 of the specimens had tested negative. The remaining results were awaited.

Also read: 26 persons under observation for COVID-19 | Coronavirus: Second Kerala patient discharged


Earlier, Mr. Vijayan had chaired a special Cabinet meeting to cobble together a strategy to pre-empt the coronavirus from getting past the efforts of the government to contain it.

At a press conference later, Mr. Vijayan sought to marshal public support for the government’s decision to shut down educational institutions and halt academic activities, including summer holiday camps and private tuitions, till the threat of the outbreak receded.


He said SSLC and Plus Two examinations would be held as per schedule. Students under observation for COVID-19 could appear for the tests in special rooms. The government also shuttered down anganwadis and ordered District Collectors to supply meals to the children at their homes.


Importantly, Mr. Vijayan appealed to the public to forego darshan at Sabarimala temple till March 31. He said the rituals at the Ayyappa temple would go on as per the religious calendar and without any disruption.

He appealed to madrasas and other places of religious learning to temporarily suspend classes. Mr. Vijayan also urged managements of temples, churches, mosques and ashrams to abandon crowded festivals and events. He also requested the public to avoid overcrowded weddings and social activities until the threat passed.

Also read: Five new COVID-19 cases in Kerala; total in India now 39


The State has appealed to the Centre to help non-resident Keralites tide over the severe limits on travel imposed by certain Gulf countries so that they could return to their workplaces at the earliest.

The government has stepped up epidemic surveillance in airports. It has made it mandatory for those returning from abroad and foreigners to divulge their travel history to the health authorities.

He said the government would prosecute those who gave misleading information about the virus or attempted to stigmatise patients or ostracise caregivers. State agencies were monitoring the social media for alarmist propaganda, fake news and attempts to peddle magic cures and quack remedies.

The government was yet to quantify the economic impact of the virus.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.