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Kerala is facing the most critical stage of COVID-19 outbreak and is near the cusp of a community spread in the State, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had warned on July 9.

The outbreak of the disease in a fish market has resulted in the triple lockdown of the entire Thiruvananthapuram city. The analysis of the present situation shows that the outbreak has spread to different parts of the city. There is a similar situation in Aryanad also, in Thiruvananthapuram district. This can happen in other places also like Kochi.

“We might have to tighten the restrictions at any time and this is applicable across the State. Restrictions are for the safety of all in the society and everyone should abide by them. Any failure to do so will result in the virus spreading through contact leading to super spread and later, a community spread in no time. Self-control is very important and we should venture out only for urgent needs. There should be no crowding or gathering at any places anywhere. Today’s situation demands that we avoid public gathering of any kind. This is for our own safety and the safety of all. Avoid all social visits also, especially in houses where people are in reverse quarantine. Any compromise of our part would lead to irreversible consequences”, the Chief Minister said.

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The coastal area of Poonthura, in Thiruvananthapuram district has been identified as a super spread cluster. Mr. Vijayan also said that field surveillance, check post monitoring, surveillance of road, rail and airport have been strengthened. Contact tracing has been expanded to classify primary contact and secondary contacts and all the people in the Containment Zone area are being quarantined. The government is coordinating with multiple departments like Health, Police, Media, Fire Force, Revenue, Food Security, Restaurants, Hotels and Tourism.

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“During the lockdown period the number of cases was low but after the third phase, the numbers started spiking and now every day, the new cases have crossed 300. This can go up but we are prepared to provide treatment. But if spreads through contact increases, we fear community spread which would create a very dangerous situation and this has to be avoided at any cost”, he said.

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In order to identify and quarantine the infected early, various sections of the society are divided into five clusters and extensive testing is being carried out. The Health Department has released the guideline. Around 500 police officers, including commandos and senior officers, have been deployed in Poonthura. Steps have been taken to prevent fishing boats from going to or coming from Tamil Nadu. The State will continue to cooperate with Tamil Nadu police in this regard.