Kochi: Kerala has closed schools, theaters and cinemas while
suspending all public programs till March 31 to fight the spread of coronavirus
as a near lock down situation prevailed in the South Indian state.
The decision was taken in a hurriedly-convened cabinet meet presided by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday as the confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 12 from three a couple of days ago.
“The state has been put under high alert. Educational institutions of classes upto V11 will remain suspended. However, there is no change in exams for classes V111 to X and 12th. All public programmes have been suspended till March 31. Awareness programmes will be conducted across the state,” he told reporters.
Kerala was the first state to report the deadly COVID-19 when three students, all who returned from epicenter Wuhan in China, tested positive for the deadly novel coronavirus in January. However, the state acted fast and managed to contain the infection with the trio getting discharged from hospital following complete recovery.
The authorities have now clamped unprecedented measures as the second bout of the disease is threatening to go out of hand. “It has been decided to avoid all festivities while marriage functions should be made a simple affair. The aim is to avoid mass gathering of people,” Vijayan said.
Meanwhile, the global death toll topped 4000 while the number of people infected rose to over 1.1 lakh with the outbreak spreading to over 100 countries. Italy was the worst affected after China with the death toll jumping to 463.
In India, the number of affected cases crossed 50. An Indian military aircraft carried the first batch of 58 Indian national back from Iran, another worst-hit country.