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In a first, Kerala starts rapid tests, may ask all to wear masks

As the deadly coronavirus spread its tentacles wider across the country, Kerala on Saturday took its fight to the next level by starting rapid anti- body tests to check for community transmission

Published: 05th April 2020 05:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th April 2020 05:08 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala Health minister KK Shailaja

Kerala Health minister KK Shailaja

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the deadly coronavirus spread its tentacles wider across the country, Kerala on Saturday took its fight to the next level by starting rapid anti- body tests to check for community transmission. With more positive cases being reported, the state is also planning to recommend use of face masks by all, especially considering that the lockdown restrictions will be lifted soon. On Saturday, 11 new positive cases were reported in the state, while eight recovered from the disease.

Of the 11 cases, six are from Kasaragod and one each from Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Palakkad and Kannur districts. While five persons had returned from Dubai (three in Kasaragod and one each in Kannur and Ernakulam), three persons (Alappuzha, Kollam and Kasaragod) were Nizamuddin returnees.

Of the remaining cases, one person had come from Nagpur to Palakkad and the other two (Kasaragod) contracted the disease due to close contact with positive cases. Meanwhile, health officials collected 171 samples for the rapid RT-PCR tests from Thiruvananthapuram district. Of these, 32 samples are of Pothencode residents suspected to have come in close contact with Abdul Azeez, who died due to Covid-19.

According to officials, the results of the tests will be announced on Sunday. As part of the measures to contain the virus spread, the state health department might recommend the public to wear masks, and continue with the preventive measures like social distancing and personal hygiene.

As per sources, the department is also planning to initiate a project through which reusable facemasks can be made at home. “The Chief Minister himself had called for wearing of facemasks by all. He also said mask is not just for preventing contraction of the virus but also preventing transmission,” a health official said.

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