Video Shows Kerala Secretariat Staff Without Distancing, Masks at Canteen Election as State Reels Due to Virus

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As Kerala grapples with a high amount of active Covid-19 cases, employees in the Secretariat were seen violating virus protocol during the canteen board election on Friday in an alleged video.

The development came amid frequent appeals by the state government to follow Covid regulations due to rising cases.

The video, shot with a mobile camera, showed employees rushing to cast their votes in the Secretariat canteen board election. Many were seen without masks, and some were wearing misplaced ones. There was no physical distancing between the employees.

The state on Saturday logged 6,282 COVID-19 cases, including a UK returnee, and 7,032 recoveries, while 71,469 people are under treatment for the infection. While the total caseload has mounted to 9,23,912, recoveries have touched 8,48,476, Health minister K K Shailaja said.

Shailaja said at a function that none in the state should forget wearing masks, hand washing and social distancing. There were a lot of accolades, brickbats and suspicions over the state's strategy against the virus, she said, adding "we have taken criticism positively." With cases continuing to see a sharp rise, Kerala has commenced a 'Back to basics campaign' In the last 24 hours, 59,759 samples have been tested, taking the test positivity rate to 10.51 per cent. So far, 95,76,795 samples have been sent for testing.

The toll has climbed to 3722 with the addition of 18 recent deaths. Ernakulam continued to report the highest number of cases --859, followed by Kozhikode 822, Kollam 688, Pathnamthitta 556 and Alappuzha 526.

Kasaragod reported 102 cases, the least in the state, the minister said in a press release. A UK returnee tested positive in the last 24 hours and so far 76 persons have been infected.

The samples of 53 people have returned negative, the release added. Of those who tested positive today, 51 are health workers,81 had come from outside the state and 5,725 were infected through contact.

A total of 2,17,434 people are presently under observation, including 11,508 in hospitals. As many as 5266 cases were registered against those not wearing masks, 840 were booked for violating covid protocol while 341 were arrested, a police press release said.