BREAKING NEWS

Kerala shuts Cinema halls & Schools as Coronavirus cases rise

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters that six new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the state, taking the total number of infections in the state to 12. These numbers include the three patients, which had tested positive and were cured of the virus.
 
Keeping in mind the fresh rise in cases, Vijayan announced severe restrictions, including the closure of educational institutions and cinema houses till the month-end, in a bid to halt its further spread.
 
Vijayan said at least 1,116 people are under observation — 149 in isolation wards of various hospitals and 967 under home quarantine.
 
The fresh cases are friends and relatives of Italy-returned couple and their son who had on Saturday tested positive for the deadly virus along with two other kin staying with them at their home in Rane in Pathanamthitta district, Health Minister KK Shailaja, who was also present, said.
 
The aged parents of the couple are among the six latest positive cases, she said.
 
Besides these 11, a three-year child who returned along with his parents from Italy tested positive in Kochi on Monday. Kerala has been hit by the second round of coronavirus cases after the country's first three positive cases in the state were successfully cured and discharged from hospitals last month.
 
Vijayan said schools and colleges and cinemas would remain closed in the state till 31 March. Classes from 1 to 7 standards of all schools — state, CBSE and ICSE boards — will remain shut and examinations which have begun for them will be put on hold.
 
Examinations for Class 10, Plus Two and vocational higher secondary will however, continue. Final examinations of Class 8 and 9 also will proceed as usual.
 
Students under observation would be permitted to write examinations in a special room, the chief minister said. “This is a time when a large number of festivals are held in Kerala in which scores of people participate. At this juncture, it will be harmful if such gatherings are held as it could help in spread of the virus,” Vijayan said.
As the hill temple Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala will re-open on 13 March, monthly poojas can be held, but at this juncture, devotees should avoid darshan, Vijayan said.
 
The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manges the Sabarimala Temple, too appealed to devotees not to come to the shrine. “The pilgrims will not be prevented from coming. But it is our appeal to them to desist from visiting the shrine due to the present circumstances”, said TDB resident N Vasu, adding the rituals can be held inside the shrine.
 
Meanwhile, students wearing masks appeared for SSLC examination in Pathnamthitta district. Sanitisers were also provided to them.
 
Two students, under observation for the virus, appeared for the examination in a separate room at their school. In Pathanamthitta, a man under observation for suspected coronavirus infection at the isolation ward of the district hospital fled, but was tracked and brought back within hours.

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