Kerala using Covid-19 for political goals: What Union Minister said on spike

Kerala accounted for over 68% of India's caseload on Thursday, after the state logged 31,445 out of 46,164 Covid-19 cases India recorded in the past 24 hours.
PRELUDE TO THE THIRD WAVE: A crowded market in Kerala's capital Thiruvananthapuram on the eve of Onam last Friday. (PTI)
PRELUDE TO THE THIRD WAVE: A crowded market in Kerala's capital Thiruvananthapuram on the eve of Onam last Friday. (PTI)
Updated on Aug 26, 2021 01:47 PM IST
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Byhindustantimes.com | Written by Avik Roy, New Delhi

Union minister V Muraleedharan accused the Kerala government of using the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic for political objectives on Thursday and urged the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government to follow the guidelines prescribed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in tackling the spead of the virus.

Calling the situation in Kerala "grave", the Union minister said, "The state, instead of using scientific methods to contain the spread, is trying to use pandemic for political objectives. I urge it to follow ICMR guidelines."

The health ministry data show that Kerala alone accounted for over 68% of India's caseload on Thursday, after the southern state recorded 31,445 cases out of 46,164 Covid-19 infection that India recorded on Wednesday.

With a test positivity rate of 19.03% , it was the highest case tally for Kerala in the past three months, with Ernakulam (4,048 cases) and Thrissur (3,865 cases) being the worst-affected districts. The national test positivity rate on Wednesday was only 2%.

"Kerala's home quarantine plan has miserably failed," Muraleedharan told news agency ANI.

The Kerala government blamed the spike in the number of cases to the festival of Onam, which was celebrated last week.

Even as Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan cautioned the states regarding a surge in Covid cases owing to the upcoming festival season, and advised them to undertake public health measures to curb the spread of the infection, bazaars across the state were found chock-a-block with people in ahead of Onam.

The Union minister of state for external affairs claimed that the testing mechanism, as suggested by the ICMR and the number of samples being tested for Covid-19 were less in Kerala.

"The state should give more attention to restricting the spread of the virus," Muraleedharan was quoted as saying by ANI in a tweet.

ALSO READ | Covid-19: Kerala, Maharashtra among top contributors to fresh nationwide surge

The fourth round of the sero survey conducted by the ICMR in July showed antibody prevalence was 67. 7% nationally but it was only 42.7 % in Kerala, signifying that a large chunk of its population is still susceptible to the virus.

However, the state of vaccination in Kerala paints a positive picture, with 56.28% of the population having received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

V Muraleedharan has been a strong critic of the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala. On Wednesday, he hit out at the LDF government and said it “clearly failed” to protect people’s lives.

Earlier this month, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya had visited Kerala and announced a 267.35 crore package for the state government to strengthen its fight against the viral disease.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021