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Kerala Covid-19 wrap: More recoveries than fresh cases, mobile labs to meet test target, NRIs to be tested for free

Kerala faces exclusion amid surge in Covid cases as many states have placed restrictions on travellers from the southern state. Till now, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Delhi have made it mandatory for the travellers from Kerala to carry negative RT-PCR certificates.

By: Express Web Desk | Kochi |
February 26, 2021 8:56:43 pm
Kerala covid cases, Covid-19It is learnt that of the fresh cases, 3,317 have been infected through primary or secondary contacts, while the source of the remaining 250 cases could not be traced. (Express Photo by Jasbir Malhi/File)

Kerala reported 3,671 new Covid-19 cases and 14 deaths on Friday, with three passengers from the UK testing positive for the virus over the last 24 hours. However, at 4,142, the recoveries in a single day were more than the number of fresh cases. The active caseload in the state stood at 51,390.

Thrissur reported the highest number of positive cases, at 490, followed by Kozhikode at 457 and Kollam at 378.

A total of 67,812 samples were tested in the last 24 hours and the test positivity rate was at 5.41%. While the total number of infected passengers from the UK has now risen to 94, with three more cases coming to light on Friday, 82 of them are said to have recovered already.

It is learnt that of the fresh cases, 3,317 have been infected through primary or secondary contacts, while the source of the remaining 250 cases could not be traced. Of those testing positive, 91 had travelled outside the state. A total 13 health workers also tested positive for the pathogen on Friday.

Kerala ropes in mobile labs to meet PCR test target

As reports came in pointing out that Kerala has not met its PCR testing target, the government has now decided to rope in mobile labs. According to a leading daily, a proposal in this regard was put forward by the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL) and was approved by the state health department.

The report said that KMSCL has already approached Sandor Medicaids Pvt Ltd for their services in providing RT-PCR tests at Rs 448. KMSCL has also been tasked to find more labs that will provide their services at the same rate. The mobile labs, which will have a capacity to conduct 2,000 tests, must ensure that they collect a minimum of 1,800 samples daily. This has to be ensured by the DSO (district surveillance officer). The DSO is also tasked with conducting frequent inspections of the mobile labs to ensure that they follow the ICMR and state guidelines, said the report.

Kerala CM disapproves of Karnataka restrictions in letter to Centre

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has requested Centre’s interference as Karnataka’s restrictions on entry of travellers following the spike in cases in his state have posed logistical problems. In his letter to the Centre, he underlined his disapproval saying that though the state can issue guidelines, it shouldn’t go against the common criteria. He said that there was no justification to the travel blockade that was dropped on Kerala by Karnataka, said a report in a local news portal.

The chief minister said that Kerala is seeing an evident decrease in the daily test positivity rate. According to ICMR reports, 46% of people in Karnataka have been detected with Covid-19 till date. Putting this data forward, Vijayan said not even one-tenth of Kerala’s population has been infected with the virus.

Kerala faces exclusion amid surge in Covid cases

Kerala faces exclusion amid surge in Covid cases as many states have placed restrictions on travellers from the southern state. Till now, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Delhi have made it mandatory for the travellers from Kerala to carry negative RT-PCR certificates. Many Keralites have to travel to other states for their jobs, education or business.

The new rule has doubled their travel expenses as they have to shell out an additional amount every time they travel inter-state. According to a local news portal, Kerala charges Rs 1,700 per RT-PCR test, which is significantly more than other states where the cost per test is Rs 400.

Kerala approves free Covid-19 tests for NRIs

Overseas passengers traveling to Kerala have been granted Covid-19 tests free of cost. The test will be conducted at airports, announced Health Minister KK Shailaja. She emphasized that no traveller can be allowed to leave without being subjected to the test. As experts warn of a second-wave of the virus, strict health check-ups have been made mandatory at airports, reported a local news publication.

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