‘Covid-19 situation critical,’ says Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan as TPR climbs to 28.25%
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said the state is going through a critical situation as the virus triggering the surge is believed to be a strong mutant. The government has imposed an eight-day lockdown in Kerala to contain the surge. The state has reported another high recording 41,971 new Covid-19 cases with a test positivity rate (TPR) of 28.25 per cent on Saturday.
Addressing the media through a virtual meet, the CM said the second wave was really challenging and the government will do everything possible to save lives. “Situation is really tough during the second wave. Though we are facing a shortage of doses we have started vaccinating people below 45 years. The government is keeping a strict watch on the oxygen situation and availability of hospital beds,” he said. In the morning he had a series of meetings with heads of various departments to spruce up the ongoing fight against the pandemic.
Vijayan said during the first wave the state did a commendable job in tracing patients and quarantining them but during the second there was laxity on the part of everyone and this would have to be plugged. “Experts say in the second phase the virus strain is deadly. So we will have to take extra caution,” he said requesting people to remain at home and follow directives of the state health ministry in letter and spirit.
Experts have warned recently that the double mutant variant or SARS-COV2 lineage B.1.617 has been found in Kerala. They said it was almost similar to the one reported in Maharashtra (Amaravati strain) and it was at least twice as infectious as earlier variants. Earlier the state had confirmed the presence of mutant strains from United Kingdom and South Africa. Experts have also warned that the double mutant variant is more dangerous than the UK and African variants.
As Covid-19 cases surged the government imposed a complete lockdown as the weekend restrictions and curbs failed to check the rising graph. This will be extended till May 16 midnight and the government said it is likely to be extended further after gauging the situation. Around 25,000 additional policemen have been deployed to ensure adherence to lockdown norms.
After testing 1.48 lakh samples 41,971 positive cases were detected with a TPR of 28.25 per cent. It also reported 64 fatalities taking the death toll to 5746. The total caseload has also risen to 4,17,101. Among those infected are 127 health workers. The growing infection rate among health workers is posing an extra burden on the overworked health system. Ernakualm district topped the infection list with 5492 cases, Thiruvananthapuram followed with 4560 and Malappuram with 4558 cases. Among the 20 worst affected districts in the country, five are in Kerala, according to Union health ministry statistics.