‘250% hike in Covid-19 cases,’ says CM as Kerala logs record infections
Kerala on Tuesday reported another spike recording 32,819 virus cases, the highest ever since the outbreak began last year. The test positivity rate in the state stands at 23.24 per cent, said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Talking to newsmen in the state capital, the chief minister said mutant variants are behind the rapid spread of the virus and urged people not to lower guard at this critical juncture.
“In the last two weeks, there has been a 250 per cent hike in Covid-19 cases. Mutant variants of the virus are triggering such a spread. All hospitals have been asked to increase beds and ensure an uninterrupted supply of oxygen. The situation remains critical,” Vijayan said. He said some of the recent studies have shown an intense spread of mutant variants of the virus in the state.
He said risk assessment studies of three variants (the UK strain, the double mutants and the South African type) were conducted and it was found that these strains have a multiplying effect and the death rate can also increase in proportion with the mounting infection rate. As the rate of infection goes in up in jails, the government has decided to release more prisoners.
Medical experts said the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, is 45 to 90 per cent more contagious than the original virus and the state will have to observe utmost caution as this highly infective variant was found in 40 per cent of the samples.
“True, the situation is really serious, still people can maintain the surge by observing basic precautions like double masking, physical distancing and hand hygiene,” said public health expert Dr TS Aneesh. He said that going by the present surge rate, cases may go drastically by the next two weeks. Experts like him said next two weeks are critical for the state.
This is the first time Kerala’s daily caseload has crossed the 30,000-mark. According to the data released by the state health ministry, when 1,41, 199 tests were conducted, 32,819 patients tested positive and a high TPR of 23.24 was reported.
Kozhikode in north Kerala reported the maximum number of cases with 5,025 infections followed by Ernakulam district with 4270 cases. The active caseload is about to cross 2.5 lakh (2,47,181).
Health experts said the growing infection in health workers is putting an extra burden on the overworked system. The only silver lining is that the state’s fatality rate is still the lowest in the country, below 0.4 per cent. As many as 32 patients have died, taking the state’s cumulative Covid-19 death toll to 5,170.