Once hailed for keeping the coronavirus spread in check, now Kerala has the highest number of active Covid-19 cases in the country and it also has one-fourth of the country’s total caseload, latest health ministry statistics show. Worried, the Union Health Ministry has decided to rush a team of experts headed by Director of the National Centre for Disease Control Dr S K Singh to the state on Friday.
After a brief lull, Covid-19 cases have gone up in the state and the test positivity rate also rose to 10.01% on Wednesday. According to state health ministry data, out of 63,891 tested 6394 people have emerged positive. With 25 new deaths, the Covid-19 death toll went up to 3209 and total active cases are 65,057 in the state currently. What is worrying is that six cases of the mutant strain were also reported from the state two days ago. Among the infected 51 are health workers.
Kerala has been consistently reporting a high number of Covid-19 cases for more than a week surpassing Maharashtra. In the last one week, 35,038 new cases were logged. Despite the rise in active cases, the state government put up a brave face saying its mortality rate is the lowest in the country, 0.4 per cent against the national average of 1.30 per cent. “We expected a big hike in Covid-19 cases after the local body elections. But still numbers are under control,” said state health minister K K Shailaja.
With a high density of population (860 people per square km) and the recent surge in virus cases the government has asked the Centre to give top priority to the state while distributing vaccine vials.
“Our strategy was to delay the peak and restrict casualties and we succeeded in both. Since the state’s density of population is quite high and prevalence of high incidences of lifestyle disease, we need to get more vaccines in the first round itself,” said the minister. Kerala was the first state to report a coronavirus case in the country– a China-returned medical student in January. Though cases have surged in the last couple of weeks its death rate is still the lowest in the country.