Experts meet Kerala govt as Covid spike continues

The experts, mainly epidemiologists, virologists and public health activists, released the statement after a meeting with the state government over the alarming spike in Covid cases across the state.
People wearing masks wait to get vaccinated for Covid-19 outside a school in Kochi, Kerala on Wednesday. (AP)
People wearing masks wait to get vaccinated for Covid-19 outside a school in Kochi, Kerala on Wednesday. (AP)
Updated on Sep 02, 2021 02:08 AM IST
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By HT Correspondent, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala on Wednesday reported 32,803 fresh Covid-19 cases and 173 deaths as medical experts suggested the high infection rate, triggered by Onam festivities, would continue till the second week of September.

The experts, mainly epidemiologists, virologists and public health activists, released the statement after a meeting with the state government over the alarming spike in Covid cases across the state.

Most of the experts at the meeting also asked the government to vaccinate maximum people to check further damage.

After the meeting, the state government came out with a statement claiming that experts expressed satisfaction over the state’s containment strategy and stressed the need to accelerate the ongoing vaccination drive. The government also claimed that many experts agreed that the state Covid data was better than many other states.

However, one of the participants, a senior epidemiologist, who did not want to be named, said some experts expressed reservations over the state’s low testing rate, overdependence on antigen tests, hype and overconfidence. Some of the experts who attended the virtual meeting include Dr R R Gangakedkhar, former chief of ICMR, Dr David Peter from Hopkins University, Dr Devi Sreedhar from Edinburg University and Dr Jacob John, former virology head of the Christian Medical College Vellore.

The projection report prepared by the pandemic core committee also said the situation would stabilize only after September 10. The government has called another meeting with local body chiefs on Friday to streamline containment measures. The high caseload has invited enough embarrassment to the state as many neighbouring states have put severe restrictions on people travelling from the state. The Union health ministry has also asked Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to increase vaccines in districts bordering Kerala.

Meanwhile, Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday said the meeting was another publicity stunt by the left government. “The government is spreading lies. When the Centre rapped it, the state government said it praised it. We have information that many experts criticised it,” said party leader S Suresh.

On Wednesday, the test positivity remained high at 18.76 per cent after 174,854 samples were tested. It also reported 173 deaths on Wednesday, taking the total to 20,961. Active caseload also crossed 220k. Two districts reported over 4000 cases, Thrissur 4,424 and Ernakulam 4,324. Statistics show there is a whopping 24 per cent increase in cases after Onam. R factor, which tells how many new cases have been transmitted from an infected person, has gone up from 0.9 per cent to 1.5% after Onam, health ministry statistics show.

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Monday, October 18, 2021