The first death due to Covid-19 in Kerala has been reported on Saturday.

The unfortunate victim is a 69-year-old man belonging to Chullickal in Ernakulam district.

The man, a heart patient, had been under treatment at Kalamassery Medical College Hospital ever since he returned from Dubai on March 16.

His wife and the driver of the taxi which brought him to Chullickal have also tested positive.

The passengers of the flight which he took from Dubai and the people who came in contact with the taxi driver are also under observation.

Meanwhile, a controversy has flared up between Kerala and Karnataka with the latter banning the movement of lorries bound for the former.

As a result, more than 60 lorries carrying vegetables and other essential goods have been stranded at the Kerala-Karnataka border for over 24 hours.

With talks at the Chief Secretary level having failed, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to resolve the crisis.

With 39 more cases reported from Kerala – the largest number of positive cases reported in a single day in the country – the number of cases in the State has risen to 164. Kasaragod accounted for 25 of the 39 new cases.

As more and more cases are reported from Kasaragod, the district has become a major covid flashpoint, triggering fears of a community spread, which Kerala has, so far, succeeded in preventing. Expectedly, the Government has singled out Kasaragod for special attention.

The State witnessed another unfortunate incident during the last two days. Kollam sub-collector Anupam Mishra has been placed under suspension for leaving the State in violation of the guidelines. Mishra, who had joined duty after he returned from honeymoon to Singapore and Malaysia, had been told to remain in isolation. But, ignoring the directions, he left for his home state, Uttar Pradesh without informing anybody.

Meanwhile, the State continues to pay heavily for the irresponsible conduct of individuals coming from Gulf countries and defiance of health department’s guidelines and instructions.

How serious the situation is can be gauged from the following figures. More than 2000 people had been arrested for ignoring the guidelines across the State. As if this was not enough, more than 2300 cases have been registered against the defiant persons. Last but not the least, as many as 1456 vehicles had been impounded for hitting the roads for non-essential purposes.

Another phenomenon worrying the Kerala Government is the plight of the migrant workers in the State. These workers are in a mood to leave for their home states. But they are unable to do so as all vehicular movements has been banned till April 14. Their woes have deepened as most of them have lost their jobs. They are finding it difficult to find food.

Thankfully, the State Government has promptly intervened to address their concerns. As part of the efforts to help them, the government has ordered the immediate opening of community kitchens at the panchayat level. The homeless among them will be accommodated at various shelter homes operated by the Government.

The State Government has stepped up its efforts to contain the spread of the virus as the next two weeks are likely to be crucial. Opinion is however, divided on whether the threat of community spread is real or not. But the Government is leaving nothing to chance.

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