On Monday, Kerala recorded a test positivity rate (TPR) of 18.33%, the highest in the last four months, with 2,993 new cases.
The Kerala government on Tuesday issued an order directing all citizens to wear face masks at all public places, and working stations while travelling and at gathering. Violators will be punished under the disaster management act, the communique stated.
The government had issued a similar order on April 27 making face masks mandatory, but the police refrained from charging fines for violations. However, Tuesday’s directive exhorts district police superintendents to strictly enforce the rule strictly, with the minimum fine for violators being 500.
In just the past week, the average TPR was over 17%. With 12 more deaths on Monday, the death toll rose to 69,976, the second-highest across India after Maharashtra.
“There is nothing to panic about…the situation is well under control. But it is always good to maintain vigil and follow protocols. Those who have not taken the booster dose should take it soon,” state health minister Veena George said.
“Though cases have gone up, the hospitalisation rate is very low. People with serious complications are seeking treatment in hospitals these days. But we need more data. We need to study the exact reasons for death so that we can formulate evidence-based preventive measures,” said medical expert Dr NM Arun.
The health ministry has also issued an advisory asking people not to skip their booster doses.