BENGALURU: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday issued a strict warning against overpricing and hoarding of essential items in view of the lockdown in the State. The Chief Minister said, “Strict legal action will be taken against those found indulging in overcharging or hoarding of essential items during the lockdown period.”

Briefing the media at the Government Secretariat, the CM said, “14 new cases of Covid 19 have been reported today taking the total number of cases to 105 in the State. Out of this, six are from Kasargod District, two from Kozhikode, eight have returned from Dubai, one each from Qatar and UK; and three have got from mutual contact. One health worker is also suspected to be on the list, we are waiting for the details.”

As many as 72,460 people are under observation in the State out of which 71,994 in their own homes and 466 in hospitals. As many as 164 people were hospitalised on Tuesday and 4,516 samples were sent for testing out of which 3,331 have tested negative.

The Chief Minister expressed his dismay at the way some people are behaving during the lockdown. “This is the first time we are going through a lockdown in Kerala and people should take it more seriously. We had made all expectations very clear and issued the order also but people have been behaving on the contrary. All personal vehicles should be strictly off the road. Taxis and autos can only be used for emergency purposes. People using personal vehicles should give a self declaration to the police action will be taken against those giving false information or found misusing personal vehicles.

The CM reiterated that absolutely no gathering of people in public can be allowed and not more than five people at a time. Departmental Stores, supermarkets and other daily essential shops will function from 7 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Those were going for shopping should observe and take safety precautions like using sanitizers and keeping safe distance, etc.

The Chief Minister on Tuesday interacted with the MLAs from Kasargod through audio conferencing and asked them to co-ordinate the activities there along with the Panchayat President. “Special attention should be given to the elderly, homeless, specially-abled in the state and local self-government institutions should take effort to arrange food and shelter for the needy. Apart from medicinces, those in isolation would also be given counselling if required.”

Lauding the efforts of the medical personnel, the Chief Minister said, “This is a pandemic and we should graciously remember all those who are working tirelessly to serve the public – the medical staff ,doctors and nurses, paramedical and cleaning staff, health inspectors, Asha workers, etc. they are doing a big sacrifice by keeping apart their personal needs”.

He also urged the youths to come forward in volunteering during this difficult time. They can voulenteer as bystanders in hospitals and help in other places too.

Today, the Chief Minister held a video conference with the Editors and senior management of media organisations. They have extended all possible support to the government. The government is also committed to giving them all probable help and support to keep the news coverage going during this lockdown period. “The media has been doing an excellent job in carrying the message of the government to the people and we appreciate that”, he added.

The CM also informed that the testing facilities at Central Universities in Kerala, IISER in Trivandrum and MIMS, Kozhikode can be used.

The State government would explore the possibility of bringing back students stranded in other states and also those who are stuck at now closed interstate borders with Kerala. However, they would have to spend the mandatory 14 days quarantine at isolation centres.

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