Kerala reports first death, six fresh cases of coronavirus

Source: PTI | Published on 28th March 2020, 11:34 PM | National News |

Thiruvananthapuram: A 69-year-old man from Kochi became the first fatal case of the coronavirus in Kerala on Saturday while six more people tested positive for the infection, taking the total under treatment to 165.

The deceased, who had undergone a bypass surgery, was suffering from acute pneumonia on admission to the Kochi hospital on March 22 after returning from abroad, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Of the fresh cases, he said two of them were detected from Thiruvananthapuram, one each was from Kollam, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kasaragod.

"Four positive cases have been treated and cured -- one in the state capital, two from Kottayam and one from Ernakulam. At least 1,34,370 people are under surveillance and 620 in isolation wards of various hospitals," Vijayan told reporters after a COVID-10 19 review meeting.

The body of a 69-year-old man who died due to novel coronavirus infection was buried in Kochi in a simple ceremony attended by only five relatives and monitored by officials after it was brought wrapped in leak-proof bag as per the Union Health Ministry guidelines.

Meanwhile, Police said they have registered 1,220 cases, arrested 1,258 people and seized 792 vehicles for lockdown violations. The total cases so far has crossed 8,311.

The state police also began monitoring violations using drones.

The government will initiate the rapid diagnostic test to keep in check community spread and all arrangements would be made in this regard by Sunday itself.

On the issue of roadblock by Karnataka on the borders resulting in trucks carrying vegetables and other essentials being stranded, Vijayan said he has been trying to contact the Chief Minister of the neighbouring state but in vain.

"I have been trying to contact karnataka CM, but it seems like he is busy. However, I spoke to union minister Sadananda Gowda. He assured that he will speak to the Karnataka CM and take necessary steps," he said.

Vijayan also lashed out at Kannur district police chief Yatish Chandra, who made some locals to do sit-ups as a punishment for venturing out of their homes, violating the 21-day lockdown enforced to check the spread of coronavirus.

"Such incidents will tarnish the image and good works done by the force," Vijayan said and added that home secretary has sought a report from the DGP on the incident.

The state human rights commission has also registered a case.

The state government has also responded to the various letters sent by chief ministers of various states expressing their concerns over the "guest workers" (migrants) in Kerala.

The state government and the Chief Minister has been using the term "guest worker" instead of migrant labourers to create "a sense of inclusivity".

"I have assured all the chief ministers that we have been taking care of the guest workers in the state," Vijayan said.

Considering the increasing instances of people showing withdrawal symptoms following closure of liquor outlets due to the lockdown, Vijayan said the government was contemplating making available liquor to those facing health issues in case there was a prescription from the doctor.

A 38-year-old daily wage labourer had committed 'suicide' in Thrissur on Friday, allegedly frustrated over not getting liquor following the coronavirus lockdown and after struggling with withdrawal symptoms.

On Saturday afternoon, the body of the COVID-19 victim was brought to the khabarsthan of a masjid near Mattancherry secured in a triple-layer body bag, exterior of which is decontaminated, to ensure it posed no risk to others while being transported in ambulance.

Five relatives, five volunteers and five officials of the district administration, health department and Kochi city corporation were present for the burial, officials said.

Relatives said final prayers for the departed soul before the body was laid to rest at 3 pm.

They were not allowed to touch the body.

Officials said large gathering was not allowed at the burial ground as a social distancing measure.

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