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Allow States to issue special pandemic relief bonds: Kerala CM to Centre

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 10, 2020 Published on April 10, 2020

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

The Kerala Government has requested the Centre to grant permission to State governments to issue special Pandemic Relief Bonds.

Announcing this, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here that all states are in financial distress as revenues have either stopped or reduced to a trickle and the public healthcare expenditure is rising manifold to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

“In this difficult scenario, we will have to borrow from the open market to continue our relief work and also to ensure that there is no break in our efforts due to lack of funds. Therefore, permission may be granted to State Governments to issue special Pandemic Relief Bonds,” Vijayan said. “We have also requested the Prime Minister to increase Kerala's borrowing limit to five per cent. Similarly, loans from external agencies for epidemic control measures and reconstruction activities may be exempted from the State’s borrowing limit.” The government is expecting a favourable response in this regard.

100 days since Covid-19 struck

It’s been 100 days since the first Covid-19 case was reported in the state and since then, a total of 357 cases have been confirmed. Currently, 258 patients are under treatment in different hospitals. Continuing with the trend in the last few days, the total number of people under observation has further come down to 1,36,195 - 1,35,472 persons under home observation and the rest 723 in hospitals. So far, the state has sent 12,710 samples for testing, of which 11,469 have reported no infection.

“There is good progress in testing, and further testing capabilities are being added. We will be staring four new labs for testing in the next four days, thus taking the total number of labs in the state to 14. This would ensure that there is at least one lab in each district in Kerala. The order for testing in private labs has also been issued.”

12 new positive cases

Meanwhile, after six days on a trot, new Covid-19 infections in the state broke a the single-digits count of breaking into two digits to 12 on Thursday. But the saving grace was a more-than-matching 13 recoveries being reported the same day, a trend that too has become more or less consistent during the period, bolstering the State government’s confidence that the state has turned the corner in containing the spread of the virus.

 

Of the 12 new infections reported on Thursday, as many 11 were primary contacts of the already infected while the other one had arrived from abroad. Kannur and Kasaragod districts accounted for four cases each, while two came in from Malappuram and one each in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts. Of the 13 patients testing negative the same day, six were from Ernakulam; three from Kannur; and two each from Idukki and Malappuram.

Eight foreign nationals cured

A major highlight of the day was that that eight foreign nationals from Italy and the UK, including a few who were in serious condition due to underlying causes, had recovered and cured of the disease. Seven of them had been undergoing treatment at the Ernakulam Government Medical College Hospital and one in Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital.

“The recovery of this tourist group which had 83- and 76-year-olds is a testimony to our robust healthcare system and good treatment extended to these patients,” the Chief Minister said. In a similar instance, an 88- and the 93-year-old couple was nursed back to health and sent home last week by the Kottayam Government Medical College.

 

Published on April 10, 2020

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