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Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Kerala alarmed by rise in local transmission COVID-19 cases

This is the first time in the state’s battle with Covid-19 that the number of local transmission cases in the daily caseload has exceeded the number of cases with travel history.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Published: July 11, 2020 2:01:44 am
kerala, covid 19, covid 19 testing Health workers collect a swab sample from a woman for a Covid-19 test in Kozhikode. (Source: PTI)

Kerala on Friday reported more Covid-19 cases attributed to local transmission as compared to those with travel history, setting off alarm bells within the government.

This is the first time in the state’s battle with Covid-19 that the number of local transmission cases in the daily caseload has exceeded the number of cases with travel history.

On Friday, 416 new cases were reported, with 242 attributed to local transmission.

After a review meeting, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “All major cities in the country have succumbed to the pandemic… In such cities, clusters have grown into multiple clusters leading to a massive spread of infection. The super spread (in the coastal belt of Thiruvananthapuram) is a similar situation… The increase in local transmission cases would push us to a dangerous situation.”

However, the sentinel surveillance — a method of random testing to detect community spread – held in June has found only 38 positive cases out of the 17,079 samples tested.

A health department official said that the outcome of sentinel surveillance shows that the situation is still under control. “These samples were tested from June 1 to 30 and the positivity rate is 0.22 per cent. The samples for sentinel surveillance were collected from among priority groups such as health workers, persons with high social exposure, primary and secondary contacts of positive cases and asymptomatic persons. These include samples from places with no Covid-19 case,’’ officials said.

With thousands of expatriates returning from West Asia every day, the state government has made antibody tests mandatory on arrival at airports. Those testing positive are being shifted to hospitals for RT-PCR test. This has been a strategy to prevent transmission of the virus from those coming from abroad.

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