Complete Weekend Lockdown In Kerala; Centre Sends Team Amid Rising Cases

Kerala has been reporting a high number of infections for the past many weeks

Kerala, which has been witnessing a worrying surge in daily COVID-19 cases, has further extended the weekend lockdown from this week.

The central government is sending a six-member team from the National Centre for Disease Control to the state, tweeted Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

“As a large number of Covid cases are still being reported in Kerala, the team will aid the state’s ongoing efforts in Covid management,” Mr Mandaviya said in a tweet.

A Health Ministry source yesterday said the state is “focused more on mitigation process of treating cases than containment“.

Kerala’s move to announce a three-day relaxation of Covid curbs for Eid-Ul-Azha last week drew sharp comments from the Supreme Court, which called it “wholly uncalled for”. However, the top court did not cancel the government notification that eased the lockdown in the state.

News agency ANI quoting unnamed sources said that Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to the state on “super spreader events” observed there recently, underlining that Covid guidelines need to be followed strictly.

The southern state, which has been lauded in the past for its best practices in Covid management, is now contributing about 40 per cent of positive cases in the country daily.

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Average daily cases being reported in the state are above 17,443. The state has also reported a high case positivity of 12.93 per cent cumulatively and 11.97 per cent weekly, shows Health Ministry data, with six districts reporting more than 10 per cent weekly positivity rate.

An increasing ‘R’ value, or Covid reproduction rate, in Kerala had earlier this month triggered concerns of a renewed wave, which could even fuel a national spike.

Though the state is vaccinating at a rate much faster than the rest of the country, its sero-positivity figure is lower.

According to a serosurvey by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) done between June 14 and July 6, Kerala, at 44.4 per cent, has lowest Covid antibodies. Serosurveys can be utilised by the states to guide objective, transparent and evidence-based public health response to COVID-19.

Kerala on Wednesday recorded 22,056 fresh COVID-19 cases pushing the infection caseload to 33,27,301, with the number of people who succumbed to the virus rising to 16,457 with 131 more deaths.

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