11 new COVID-19 cases in Kerala, hotspots go up to 87

(Eds: Adds details) Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 26 (PTI) Three health workers, including a woman doctor, were among the 11 people detected with COVID-19 in Kerala on Sunday, taking the total positive cases to 468 as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called for ramping up of testing, including those who are asymptomatic and in quarantine.

The 41-year-old doctor, working at a Primary Health Centre at Elapara in the high range Idukki district, who did not exhibit any symptoms, is suspected to have been infected from the mother of a coronavirus patient who had come to her clinic.

While one person has returned to the state from Germany via Spain- Abu Dhabi, three had come from neighbouring states and seven are cases of local transmission, Health Minister K K Shailaja said in a press release.

Five cases were reported from Kottayam district--, one person had come from outside the state and the remaining, including two health workers had been infected through contact, the minister added.

With samples of four people-one each from the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Malappuram, Kannur and Kasaragod-, returning negative on Sunday, 342 have so far been cured of the infection.

The Chief Minister directed all Collectors, medical officers and police chiefs of all 14 districts to ramp up COVID-19 testing and evaluate the preventivemeasures being conducted across the state.

At least 20,127 people are under observation in various parts of the state, of whom 462 are in isolation wards of hospitals,including 99 admitted on sunday.

The samples of 22,954 with symptoms have been sent for testing and 21,997 samples are negative.

Kannur has the maximum number of positivecases-- 51, followed by Kasaragod 14.

The state has 87 hotspots now with the addition of ChattannurandShasthamcottafrom Kollam andManarkkadin Kottayamfinding a place in the list.

Withthe graph of positive cases rising,Vijayan stressed the need to conduct more coronavirus tests and said asymptomatic personsshould also be tested.

'Those with no symptoms should also be tested and government would make available necessary test kits. All those in quarantine should also be tested,' Vijayan said addressing officials through video conference.

There will be no relaxation in the hotspots, he added.

Many people who have been stranded in various places outside the state have expressed their desire to return. But while taking a decision, a practical approach is needed, a press release quoting Vijayan said.

As new cases were emerging from border states, Vijayanemphasised the need to make survillencestringent.

With regard to the plea of several stranded Non Resident Keralites (NRKs), especially from the Gulf region, including those who had gone on visit visas, pregnant women and children and the elderlyto return, Vijayan said airports should have testing facilities and quarantine provisions should also be close to the four airports.

Health Minister Shailaja, Revenue minister K Chandrasekharan, Chief Secretary Tom Jose and Additional Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta were among those who participated in the meeting here.

Meanwhile, the Non Resident Keralite Affairs (NORKA) Department on Sunday begun online registrationof stranded Keralites in various countries, who are wanting to return to the state.

Those wanting to return have to first test their samples for the coronavirus infection and only those found negative can register online.

The government has made it clear that all those wanting to return should carry a COVID-19 negative certificate from the respective countries they come.PTI UD SS PTI PTI