THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asked all district collectors to increase testing to identify asymptomatic patients and check community spread. In a meeting held on Sunday through video-conferencing, Pinarayi also asked the collectors to seal the state borders, including byroads and forest routes, to stop infected people from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka sneaking into Kerala.
The meeting with department heads and collectors was held as a prelude to the Prime Minister’s meeting with chief ministers on Monday. Pinarayi said Kerala has done only 21,000 tests over the past two months. Despite starting much later, other states are conducting more than 5,000 tests daily, he said. “The number is below 500 in Kerala. About 4,000 tests can be done daily at our 16 laboratories, of which 14 are run by the state government,” he said.
“The approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research to use test kits is pending. Hence, it should be done with existing facilities as testing is the need of the hour,” Pinarayi said. He said maximum tests should be done in hotspot regions, especially on asymptomatic persons and those who interact often with others. Pinarayi also emphasised the need to quarantine people coming from Tamil Nadu. He asked the officials to identify more houses to quarantine NRIs who the country plans to evacuate in large numbers. Health Minister K K Shailaja, Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan and Chief Secretary Tom Jose were among those who attended the meeting.