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Kerala Covid-19 wrap: 4,106 new cases, 17 deaths; mutant strains not behind surge, says Centre

Meanwhile, after Karnataka, now Mumbai, Uttarakhand and Manipur have also requested all the travellers from Kerala to present a Covid-19 negative test certificate on entering the state.

By: Express Web Desk | Kochi |
Updated: February 24, 2021 9:05:35 pm
Kerala covid news, Covid-19 newsPathanamthitta reported the highest number of cases (512) followed by Kozhikode (483) and Ernakulam (473). (File Photo)

Kerala recorded 4,106 new cases of Covid-19 and 17 fatalities on Wednesday. A total of 5,885 patients recovered from the infection in the last 24 hours. The test positivity rate stood at 5.82 per cent with today being the third consecutive day where it stood below 6 per cent.

Pathanamthitta reported the highest number of cases (512) today, followed by Kozhikode (483) and Ernakulam (473). Three passengers who had travelled from the UK recently have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. This sums up the number of UK returnees who tested positive to 91. So far, 76 patients have recovered, whereas 11 of them have been diagnosed with the new variant of the virus.

Numbers point to no clarity on vaccine status

Kerala has shown a lack of clarity on the vaccination drive in the public domain. Even though the state has begun its second dose of vaccination among health workers, the first dose inoculation stood at 98 per cent, a Times of India report said. As of now, no target has been revealed for each phase. This makes it difficult to find whether the target has been achieved for the second dose. On its part, the state has refused the allegations and said it was updating the daily vaccine status to the Centre and there is no lack of transparency. The state health secretary, Rajan N Khobragade, assured that the state would achieve the target within the said time frame and no confusion is required in the matter, the report said.

Kerala falls short on CM’s RT-PCR test target

At the end of January, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had made an ambitious announcement. The state would hike the number of daily tests to 1 lakh and 75 per cent of those tests would be through the RT-PCR method. Both aspects of that announcement have not been satisfied. The number of tests done each day varies to a great extent and on Sundays, it drops to even 30,000-40,000. The state is also heavily reliant on antigen tests. The human resources at government labs have been enhanced to enable the labs to perform with full capacity, according to a TOI report.

Another major problem is that the RT-PCR test in the state is quite expensive, which makes people prefer the less dependable antigen tests which are cheaper. Even if hospitals are required to send the antigen negative samples for a RT-PCR confirmation, things have still not changed.

More states impose restrictions on travellers from Kerala

After Karnataka, more states have imposed travel restrictions on people from Kerala. Mumbai, Uttarakhand and Manipur have requested all the travellers from Kerala to present a Covid-19 negative test certificate on entering the state. This move is due to the infection spread in Kerala. One-time travellers are required to present an RT-PCR test certificate that has to be taken within 72 hours of the travel in Karnataka. Even Maharashtra has made the RT-PCR test certificate mandatory for all travellers from Kerala, according to Madhyamam.

Due to the swift increase of Covid-19 cases once again in the country, the Centre has asked the states to take necessary actions. Delhi will begin restricting travellers from Kerala and four other states starting from Saturday. People will have to show a negative RT-PCR test to enter Delhi till March 15.

Centre sends experts to Kerala to curb Covid-19

The Centre has appointed multi-disciplinary teams to the states that have reported the highest surge in the Covid-19 cases, reported Scroll.com. Apart from Kerala, the Centre has identified Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir to help them tackle the Covid-19 cases rising in the country. The teams will work closely with the states and find out the reason behind the surge in the recent cases, the Centre said. The three-member teams will be led by the joint secretary-level officers of the health ministry and will coordinate with the health departments of each state to take measures to curb the transmission of the infection.

Centre says Covid-19 mutant strains not behind the surge in Kerala

On Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry said that the mutant strains did not have any direct relation between the recent surges in Kerala and Maharashtra, according to Mint. NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul informed that though people in the country have been detected with the South African variant and the Brazil variant, based on scientific information there is no reason to worry. Kerala and Maharashtra account for 75 per cent of the active Covid-19 cases in the country. Paul assured that though these mutations keep happening, they have no influence on the pandemic.

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