At least five of more than 88,000 students, who took up the Kerala Engineering Architecture Medical (KEAM) examination held recently across the state, have tested positive for COVID-19. While three students were found to be infected by the virus on July 21, two others tested positive on Wednesday, district officials said.
The state government has been facing criticism from the Opposition parties for holding the exam despite the high prevalence of COVID-19 cases in the state. Meanwhile, a case has been registered against at least 300 people for gathering outside one of the exam centres in the city to receive their wards after the exam on July 16.
“The case was registered on July 17 after the picture of the crowd appeared in one of the newspapers. The case was filed for not adhering to the COVID-19 health protocol in public space,” a police official told PTI.
Leaders of opposition parties have flayed the government’s decision to conduct the exam during the COVID-19 crisis despite appeals to defer it.
“This crowd of students crowding to enter an exam centre for KEAM 2020 have made a mockery of the social distancing norms. A Govt [Government] which wants to combat COVID-19 would not be foolish enough to persist with these exams when students (&this M.P.) have pleaded for their postponement!,” Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted along with a picture of the crowd in front of an exam centre in the state capital.
A 19-year-old student, who appeared for the exam at Thycaud government teachers training college and an 18-year-old who sat for the exam at the Government Girls Higher Secondary School in Karamana are the two who have tested positive here.
District officials said the contact tracing of the student at Thycaud has been done as he took up the test with 20 others.
“Out of the 88,500 students, only three tested positive on Tuesday. One student was already under observation and wrote the exam in a separate room. The one in Thiruvananthapuram appeared for it along with other students,” Vijayan said. The third student was from Kozhikode. Also, the father of a candidate, who accompanied his son to the exam centre at Cotton Hill school, has tested positive. He had remained at the school premises till the examination was over. On Wednesday, two students, one each from Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram, tested positive.
Kerala on Tuesday reported 720 fresh cases of COVID-19 taking the total number of infected persons in the state to 13,994. Out of the 720 positive cases, 528 were infected from their contacts.