Thiruvananthapuram: Nine fresh cases of Covid-19 were reported in Kerala on Wednesday taking the total number of people infected in the state to 345, including 15 who had returned after attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in New Delhi.
Of the new cases, four had come from abroad, two had attended the Tablighi meet in Delhi last month and the remaining three contracted the virus through contacts, chief minister told reporters.
He also said it had been decided to provide "online medical services" to non-resident Keralites (NRKs) stranded in various countries following receipt of 'frantic' calls from them for help and it would enable them connect with the doctors in the state.
"The NRKs can consult the doctors through video-audio calls and consult them after registering with the NORKA website. The service will be available from 2 PM to 6 PM Indian standard Time. Doctors from various streams including general medicine, surgery, gynecology, paediatrics, orthopedics, ENT, will be available," Vijayan said.
"We are receiving frantic phone calls for help from Keralites stranded abroad. We have requested the Indian embassies there to coordinate with the help desk to assist the people there," he said.
The government has opened five help desks at various countries at the aegis of NORKA (Non Resident Keralite Affairs department).
Of the fresh cases, four were from Kannur, two from Alappuzha and one each from Pathanamthitta, Thrissur and Kasaragod districts, the chief minister said adding 13 people were cured of COVID-19 disease.
"Among those cured today are three each from Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur, two each from Idukki, Kozhikode and Wayanad and one case from Kannur district," he told reporters after the daily COVID-19 evaluation meet.
As of now, a total of 259 infected people are under treatment, with 84 being cured, Vijayan said.
"Till now, the government has identified 212 people in the state who had participated in the Tablighi congregation, of which 15, including two of today's cases, have tested positive," Vijayan said.
At least 1,40,474 people, including 749 in isolation wards of various hospitals, are under observation in the state.
The state has sent 11,986 samples for testing.
Vijayan said 20,000 testing kits will be made available by Thursday through the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The government will bring to the attention of its Karnataka counterpart incidents of certain patients being allegedly denied treatment at hospitals in the neighbouring state, he said.
Referring to lockdown violations, he said at least 2,584 cases were registered and 2,607 people arrested on Wednesday.
At least 1,919 vehicles were seized.
"The seized vehicles are posing a problem to the police department. From now on, instead of taking the custody of the vehicle, police will impose heavy fine on violators," Vijayan said.
Vijayan thanked Telugu cine artist Allu Arjun, who donated Rs 25 lakh to the chief minister's disaster relief fund.
As per the latest medical bulletin, Kasaragod, the hotspot for COVID-19 cases, has 132 positive cases, followed by Kannur with 49 cases. Ernakulam and Palakkad have 14 cases each.
Kozhikode has the highest number of people under observation in the state with at least 20,049 people under watch.
Two fatalities have been reported from the state so far....