Thiruvananthapuram: Eleven people tested positive for coronavirus in Kerala on Saturday, three of whom had returned from the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi, taking the total number of COVID-19 patients in the state to 254, health minister K K Shailaja said.
Of the new cases, six are from Kasaragod district and one each from Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Palakkad and Kannur districts, she said.
"Five of the new cases confirmed today are those who returned from Dubai, three came back from the Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin, one who came back from Nagpur and two got infected through primary contact locally," she said.
In a relief to the health department, eight patients -- 7 from Kannur and one from Thiruvananthapuram -- were discharged.
Kerala has so far reported 306 confirmed COVID-19 cases and as of now, 1,71,355 persons are under observation.
"As many as 1,70,621 people are under home observation and 734 in hospitals and 174 persons were hospitalised today. A total of 9,744 samples of those who had symptoms were sent for testing and 8,586 reports were negative," Shailaja said.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a video conference with legislators and sought their cooperation in the "joint- fight" against the pandemic.
He urged them to monitor community kitchens in their areas and ensure that food was made available to the needy.
Opposition Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala wanted the government to allot a special fund for local self government institutions to fight the pandemic.
Meanwhile, rapid testing for coronavirus started at Pothencode panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram district, from where the second COVID-19 death was reported.
The panchayat and a 3-km area around it has been locked down completely in an effort to track down all of those who had come in contact with the deceased man.
The state had received 1,000 rapid testing kits on Friday and at least 2,000 more are expected on Sunday.
With these kits, the results of COVID-19 tests, which takes at least 7-8 hours, will be out in 2.5 hours.
As per the latest health ministry report, Kasaragod has 123 positive cases and 195 are in isolation wards.
Neighbouring Kannur district has 47 positive cases and Ernakulam has 18 cases of COVID-19.
Kozhikode district has the most number of people under observation in the state --21,934, followed by Palakkad where 19,325 are under observation....