19 more cases in Ker, Total cases touch 126, over 2000

arrested for lockdown violations (Eds: adding details) Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 26 (PTI:) Kerala reported 19 more positive cases of coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total number of infected people under treatment to 126, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Kannur accounted for the highest number cases with nine,, while three cases each were from Kasaragod and Malapppuram districts, followed by two from Thrissur and one each from Idukki and Wayanad, he told reporters after a COVID-19 review meeting.

Three Kannur natives under treatmment in Ernakulam and two foreigners were discharged today.

The Chief Minister said over one lakh people are under observation in the state and 601 in various hospitals.

He appealed to youngsters to join the 'army of volunteers', whose services would be needed for various activities during the lockdown.

A former block panchayat member from Idukki is among those who tested positve.

There were reports that the panchayat member had come to the assembly and met some politicians, including a minister and some MLAs.

However, Vijayan said these matters were yet to be confirmed.

He said there were reports of migrant workers facing difficulties as they were being evicted by their landlords.

Some complained of not having food following the lockdown.

Such acts would not be tolerated, he said.

'It's our responsibility to give them food, shelter and medical assistance and they should be taken care of,' he said.

Police clamped down on people moving around in vehicles defying the lockdown, arested 2234 of them, registering 2,098 cases and seized at least 1,447 vehicles.

Since Tuesday, the cases registered in the state has touched 5,710, the police media cell said.

The Chief Minister said though the steps taken by police for an effective lockdown had kept many away from the roads, there had been instances when things had gone out of control, in a reference to a health committee member of Kozhikode district being beaten up by police.

'Such an attitude on the part of police is not right. It affects the image of the state and also of those police offiials who are doing a commendable job,' Vijayan said.

Urging the youth to come forward and join the army of volunteers which has been formed under the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), he said those between 22-40 years can join the team of about 2.36 lakh, which will be formed.

The 941 panchayats will each have a 200 member team, while 87 municipalities will each have a 500-member team and in six corporations, there will be a team of 750-member volunteers each.

Vijayan said 1465 young volunteers have already been engaged by the government after being recruited by the Youth Commission.

He also praised the hoteliers association, which agreed to provide over 800 hotels to cook food during the lockdown period.

The Chief Minister said all pregnant women employees will be kept away from essential services and health services.

Vijayan said the government would utilise all the facilities of all the government hospitals and 879 private hospitals with 69,434 beds.

'There are 5,607 ICU beds in the state and 716 hostels with 15,333 rooms,' he said.

Community Kitchens, which provide free food to the destitute, migrant workers and those under home observation, also started functionin gin various parts of the state from today. PTI RRT UD APR RAVINDRANATH APR RAVINDRANATH