Kerala reports another surge with 32,801 fresh Covid-19 cases
Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday justified the state’s containment strategy and asked critics which model should the state follow if the present one is ineffective.
On Friday, the state reported another hike with 32,801 cases with a high test positivity rate (TPR) of 19.22 per cent after 1,70,703 samples were tested. It also reported 179 fatalities taking the death toll to 20, 313. The active cases also increased to 1,95,254, said the state health ministry. Four districts reported more than 3000 new cases-- Malappuram 4032, Thrissur 3953, Ernakulam 3627 and Kozhikode 3362. In last three days the state has been reporting over 30,000 cases and it has been attributed to the recently-concluded Onam festivities.
In the wake of the high caseload, opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have criticised the state’s virus containment strategy and held the CM responsible for the health crisis worsening in the state. Earlier the CM used to hold a regular briefing at 6 pm but for the last two weeks it has not been happening and the opposition said he was ignoring reality.
But the CM in a hard-hitting article in ‘Chintha,’ a party-sponsored weekly, said there was a concerted plan to discredit the state and its model of development and exhorted party workers to expose such elements.
“There is a discussion that the current strategy is inappropriate. Some people neglect facts and try to create confusion. They are flagging unnecessary controversies to create a smoke screen,” he said in his write-up asking critics to tell him which model the state should adopt. He said in the state no bodies floated in rivers and none died on roads and nobody has gone to bed with an empty stomach in trying times.
But opposition leader V D Satheesan reiterated his charge that the CM was scared to face the media and people. “He can’t justify his doings in a party mouthpiece like this when the state is in a grave situation,” he said. The Congress said the whole state was pushed to the ICU due to the poor handling of the situation.
70% population vaccinated
State health minister Veena George said 70.24 per cent of the eligible population in the state (above 18 years) was vaccinated and out of this 25.3% had got both vaccines. She said though cases are showing an upward trend, the situation is under control.
“There is no unusual rush in hospitals. Almost 50 per cent ventilators and ICU beds are vacant,” she said adding the mortality rate still remained lowest in the country at .5 per cent while the national average was 1.25 per cent. “On May 13, 43,000 cases were reported with a TPR of 29%. Two months later it came down to 10,000 and TPR was in 10-12 per cent range. But now again cases are going up and it will stabilise soon,” she said.
“According to the Indian Council of Medical Research Kerala’s virus undercounting factor is 6% while it is 33% in some other states. In vaccination and testing, it continues its good track record. By September 20, we are planning to give at least one dose of vaccine to all eligible people,” she said adding the Centre has agreed to supply enough doses.
The Kerala government meanwhile has decided to tighten containment measures and decided to impose complete lockdown on Sunday. The Union Government had asked the two worst affected states, Kerala and Maharashtra, to impose night curfew to restrict movement of people. The state is expected to take a call on this on Saturday in a review meeting being chaired by the CM. The state had lifted lockdown in the last two weeks in view of Independence Day and Onam.