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    Two fresh cases in Kerala,tally now 499

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    Two fresh cases in Kerala,tally now 499
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    Thiruvananthapuram: After remaining free from any positive cases for a month, Wayanad reported a lone COVID-19 case on Saturday, following which the district was shifted from the green to the orange zone, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said,even as he asserted that the State cannot afford to lower its guard.

    The other positive case in the state was from Kannur, which has the highest number of cases at present.

    With the fresh cases,the tally in the state stood at 499.

    No positive cases were detected in the state on Friday.

    "There are only two positive cases in the state today.But one is from Wayanad where for the past one month no positive cases have been reported. So Wayanad has been removed from the green to the orange zone," Vijayan told reporters here.

    Vijayan said the Centre has issued guidelines on easing of lockdown restrictions and the state government will take necessary steps in accordance with the Centre's notification.

    "We have imposed strict restrictions during lockdown and it had shown better results. But we cannot lower our guard. We still have the threat of community spread. We need to maintain vigil," Vijayan cautioned.

    He said lakhs of Keralites are staying outside the state and need to be brought back through meticulous planning. "Public transport will not be there. Bars will not be opened, Barber shops, beauty parlours, malls will remain closed."

    "Sundays will be considered as completely closed for all shops and offices in the state.  No vehicles should ply on Sundays," Vijayan said. Samples of 8 people-- six from Kannur and two from Idukki have returned negative.

    There are 80 hotspots, including 23 in Kannur, 11 each in Idukki and Kottayam.

    Alappuzha and Thrissur have been brought under green zone as no new positive cases have been reported for the past 21 days, while Kannur and Kottayam will continue in the red zone.

    Vijayan made it clear that liquor shops, malls, beauty parlours and barber shops will continue to remain shut in the state.

    Green zone stands for districts with zero confirmed cases till date or districts with no confirmed cases in the last 21 days,while red zone comprises districts popularly known as hotspots and is based on number of active cases.

    Orange zone comprises districts falling neither under the green or red zone category.

    As per the medical bulletin issued on Saturday, there are 21,894 people under observation, out of which 410 are in isolation wards in various hospitals across the state and a total of 31,183 samples were sent for testing.

    Kannur has 38 positive cases, the highest in the state, followed by Kottayam with 18 cases and Idukki and Kollam with 12 cases each.

    Vijayan said Keralites who prefer to return to the state will be given dates to reach the border and a proper health checkup would be done there before allowing them to enter.

    The department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA) said that the number of Keralites, who have registered to come back to the state, has increased to 5.34 lakh.

    It said "3.98 lakh people have registered from outside India and 1.36 lakh have registered from other states in India.

    Details of people who have registered with NORKA will be shared with Ministry of External Affairs and Embassies in respective countries.

    Request will be made to give priority to the preferred categories announced earlier," Norka said in a tweet.

    Meanwhile, 3,460 cases were registered against those violating lockdown protocol in Kerala and 3,386 people arrested.

    Police also registered 2,189 cases for not wearing masks in public places.

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