Kerala has confirmed two more coronavirus cases on Tuesday, taking the total cases in the state to 14, the highest for any Indian state.
The latest two are the parents of a three-year old child who was tested positive a day ago, also India's youngest patient yet. All of the patients in Kerala are stable in their health, except two more than 85-year old who are at "high risk", according to the state health officials. "We are doing everything possible to save their lives," said Kerala's health minister K K Shailaja.
Out of the total virus-affected patients, four are returnees from Italy and ten are natives who contacted closely with them after their return, the state government said.
Official estimates say 1495 people are under observation, 1236 of them in houses and the rest 259 in hospitals spread across central-southern districts Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Ernakulam. A total of 950 samples have sent for testing but 815 returned as negative, the results of the rest are pending, as per the government.
With the crisis mounted, Kerala upped its pro-active measures on Sunday to contain the spread. All schools until Class 7, colleges, movie theatres were shut until 31st March. The government also cancelled all public functions scheduled in March.
The government has also urged people to cancel weddings, religious gatherings and other events that could invite a mass gathering.
"This is also a season of religious festivities. But we should avoid holding large festivities and marriages. At least, they should be reduced to mere rituals and limit the people in attendance. In Sabarimala (which opens for a few days in March), people should avoid going for the pilgrimage, but the rituals in the temple will be allowed to continue," Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said after a special cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
"Globally, it is now clear that we are in a public health emergency," he said.