In the wake of the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Saturday urged the new government in Kerala to conduct the swearing-in ceremony on virtual platform, news agency PTI said.

IMA said, violation of COVID-19 norms during the poll campaign was one of the several reasons which triggered the second wave of the pandemic in the state.

The new government is coming to power upholding scientific temper and understanding the will of people, it said.

“So, the conduct of the swearing-in ceremony on the virtual platform, avoiding the gathering of people, will give a strong message of fight againstCOVID-19,” the IMA said here in a statement.

The new LDF ministry, headed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, is expected to assume power on May 20. Recently, Vijayan indicated that the plan was to take oath on May 20.

Lockdown extended till 23 May

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday, meanwhile, announced to extend the lockdown in the state till 23 May as the positivity rate remains high. Earlier the lockdown in the state was to end on 16 May.

The state is currently under a 9-day complete shutdown as part of its efforts to bring down the daily caseload of infected persons.

“Experts have said the month of May is very crucial for Kerala. Lockdown measures have helped the north Indian states to contain second wave of COVID-19. That is a good sign,” Vijayan said.

“If utmost care is taken in the month of May, we will be able to bring down the death rate. To ease the burden on people due to the lockdown measures, the government has adopted certain measures including the distribution of foodkits and timely distribution of social security pension,” the chief minister said.

He also announced that “Triple lockdown will be imposed in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram, where the test positivity rate is high.”

The state chapter of IMA also lauded the government’s decision to extend the lockdown till May 23, taking into consideration the demand of the scientific community.

Kerala reported 34,694 fresh COVID cases on Friday, positivity rate 26.41%

Kerala on Friday logged 34,694 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the overall tally to 20,55,528 while 93 deaths pushed the toll to 6,243, state government said here.

While 31,319 people were cured of the infection, taking the total recoveries to 16,36,790, as many as 4,42,194 people are currently being treated for the infection in the state.

In the last 24 hours, 1,31,375 samples were tested and the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) was 26.41 per cent.

(With inputs from agencies)

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