Kerala govt against lowering mask as Covid back in focus
Kerala government on Monday said it did not expect the Covid situation to deteriorate in the state but warned the people against lowering guard. A meeting chaired by Health Minister Veena George in the wake of spike in cases in certain other states asked the medical officers to step up vigil on the formation of clusters and decided to insist people on wearing masks.
“There is no need to panic about the Covid situation in the state. We have not noticed any cluster formation so far. The only place where the cases have increased slightly is Kochi,” Veena said.“The current situation will continue for some more time in the state. The vigil should continue though we do not foresee a large wave,” she added.
The state reported 255 new Covid cases on Monday, taking the total number of patients to 1,812. As many as 325 recovered. A total of 2,541 new cases were reported on the day at the national level, with the patients’ number going up to 16,522. As part of reviewing the latest spike, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet the chief ministers on Wednesday.
Veena asked the district medical officers to step up vigil and alert the state government in case of any cluster formation. The health department has also decided to increase district-level awareness about viral infection. The department also plans to associate with the general education department to increase vaccination coverage among children.
“Wearing mask is mandatory. The chances of infection are high in poorly ventilated places. Elderly people should be encouraged to take precautionary doses because they are vulnerable when cases increase,” the minister said in a statement. The government had lifted all restrictions on Covid and decided against imposing fine on people for not wearing mask.
The minister said no private lab or hospital will be allowed to charge more than the rate fixed by the government for Covid testing. The health department had slashed the rate of RT-PCR test from Rs 500 to Rs 300 and antigen test from Rs 300 to Rs 100 in February.