As Kerala continues to register a steep rise in COVID-19 cases, the State government on Monday said the educational institutions which have less than 40 per cent attendance for consecutive three days will be closed for two weeks.
The COVID-19 evaluation meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan virtually from the USA where he is undergoing treatment, decided to declare the educational institutions with less than 40 per cent attendance as clusters.
"The meeting has decided to close, for two weeks, the educational institutions with less than 40 per cent attendance for three consecutive days and declare it as a cluster. The categorisation of districts based on the infection and hospitalisation will come to effect from Tuesday," the Chief Minister's Office said in a release.
The meeting noted that the spread was rapid and the hospitalisation has increased in the state. The State government had earlier decided to impose restrictions at district level on the basis of the number of people admitted to hospitals and authorised the Disaster Management Authority to divide the districts into three groups, A, B and C.
In the districts falling under A category, all social, cultural, religious, political and public events and weddings and funerals can be attended by up to 50 people. No such gatherings will be allowed in the B and C category districts. In such areas, religious worship should be conducted online only and a maximum of 20 people will be allowed for weddings and funerals.
Movie theaters, swimming pools and gyms are not allowed to function in C category districts. Thiruvananthapuram district has been included in the "category C" - where there will be highest restrictions in Kerala is the only district in that category. Theaters, swimming pools, gyms to be closed there.
All classes (including tuition centers) -- except undergraduate and postgraduate level final year classes besides 10 and 12 classes-- are allowed online only in C category districts. However, residential educational institutions are allowed to operate on a bio-bubble model. The CMO also informed that 83 per cent of the people in the state received both the doses of vaccine while 66 per cent of children received their vaccination in Kerala.
The evaluation meeting also said that it was better to approach accredited labs for testing for coronavirus and noted that there are instances where self-testing kits, purchased from medical shops, have recorded wrong readings. Meanwhile, state health minister Veena George denied media reports that the ICUs and ventilators in the state were fully occupied and visited Thiruvananthapuram Medical College to evaluate the situation.
The Minister said that more than 100 ICU beds were vacant and only 28 were occupied in the medical college. She said more beds, ICUs and ventilators will start functioning in the state if the number of patients go high in Kerala. Kerala, which has been registering over 45,000 daily new COVID-19 cases for the past few days, on Monday recorded 26,514 fresh positive cases taking the total affected in the state to 56,46,665. The State reported 45,449 cases on Sunday while on Saturday, the state had recorded 45,136 new cases.
With inputs from PTI.