THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As Covid-19 cases go up in state, the arrival of expats from abroad has slowed down. According to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, majority of flights, mainly coming from Saudi Arabia, were landing in the state with empty seats.In addition to that the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia has informed the government that there is a sense of disinterest among the applicants to return to the state. The chief minister also added that applications seeking permission to operate chartered flights have also come down. Saudi Arabia, which has now listed 46 chartered flights to Kerala, is the second largest country in terms of Malayali diaspora working outside the country after UAE.
At the same time, for the thirteenth consecutive day, local transmission cases remain in the three figure mark as, of the 720 new cases reported on Tuesday, 528 were due to contact. Taking the tally of Covid-19 deaths to 44, a 72-year-old who died on July 16 tested positive for the virus. “Upon easing lockdown restrictions in the state, a total of 6, 20,462 returnees had arrived here. Of these, 2,35,231 were from abroad alone. Also, 3, 225 returnees were tested positive. Of these, 1,939 were from abroad. In addition to that, a total of 1,351 flights have arrived from 56 countries so far,” the chief minister said.
Meanwhile, with market places and shopping establishments becoming sources of infection and transmission, the state government has decided to provide special attention to such areas. It has been decided to initiate stringent measures including arrests and prosecution proceedings against traders who violate Covid protocol.
“Some recent incidents stress the need for special attention at markets. These include wholesale and retail markets. At these places certain regulations will be enforced. In the case of violators, it has been decided to move forward with actions including arrests, prosecution proceedings and even shutting down of such establishments,” the chief minister said in his Covid-19 briefing.
‘742 CFLTCs with 69, 215 beds by July 23’
Stating the operation of COVID First Line Treatment Centres (CFLTC) in the state, the chief minister said that as per stats until July 19, a total of 187 CFLTCs were in operation and they together had a total of 20, 404 beds. The chief minister also added that the government is planning to set up 742 CFLTCs with a total bed capacity of 69,215 by July 23.
He also added that those who have tested positive in the rapid antigen test will also be lodged in CFLTCs. “Chances are high that asymptomatic patients could transmit the virus to others. Sometimes it might lead to community transmission. Thus they will have to be lodged at a centre like CFLTC. Everyone should cooperate with the health department for the general good,” said the chief minister.
‘Rapid transmission possible in state’
The chief minister said that considering the population density and presence of high ratio of senior citizens and those with comorbidities, the virus could rapidly spread among the population resulting in a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. “But so far we have fared better. The state which started with one testing centre now has 59 testing centres in the government sector and 51 in private sector. The rate of testing and number of testing centres will be increased,” he said.