Monday has been a great day for Kerala in its efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. For the second consecutive day, the state reported no new cases of infection. At the same time, a total of 61 people recovered from the illness, the highest in a single day, taking the number of active cases from 95 to 34.
Among those who recovered, 19 were from Kannur district, 12 from Kottayam, 11 from Idukki, nine from Kollam, four from Kozhikode, two each from Malappuram, Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at his daily press briefing. With Monday’s developments, three more districts – Kozhikode, Malappuram and Thiruvananthapuram have joined the list of Covid-19 free districts. Kannur has the most number of active cases (18) remaining, followed by six in Kottayam and three each in Kollam and Kasaragod.
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The statistics underline Kerala’s remarkable recovery rate and confirm that the state has not just successfully flattened the infection curve but is well on its way to be labelled Covid-free if the present circumstances continue. Over the last few days, the health department has been testing samples as part of ‘sentinel surveillance’ among health workers, police officials, migrant workers, grocery vendors and other high-risk groups. This is in addition to those being screened and tested for their foreign travel history and contacts with those infection. Both the regular sample testing as well as sentinel surveillance testing have shown no evidence of any kind of silent transmission of the virus within the community. This is also a huge relief for the government.
However, as part of maintaining the vigil, the health department continues to keep over 21,000 people under home quarantine. These are essentially primary and secondary contacts of those who have tested positive for the virus so far.
Kerala also remains alert and cautious of the next phase of the challenge: welcoming the thousands of expatriates who will fly home starting May 7. The Centre has released the official notification on the phase-by-phase rescue of Indians stranded around the world and those wishing to come home. The state on its part has readied massive institutional facilities for quarantining them if they are found to be symptomatic on arrival. Those without any signs of the infection can return home, but remain under quarantine for the next 14 days.
Kerala also started receiving people who were stranded in other states. Digital passes have been issued to those who have completed registration on the government website with details of the check-post and the time they are required to arrive at. All those entering the state from other states have to enter quarantine for 14 days.
The chief minister said he has petitioned the prime minister on running non-stop trains from states like Maharashtra, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh to transport Malayalis who wish to come back home.