After a lull of nearly three weeks, Kerala added 139 Covid-19 cases in the last 10 days but the government has ruled out community spread of the virus based on random testing done on 5,630 samples, of which only four tested positive.
After his daily review meeting, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that the state had tested 5,630 samples as part of sentinel surveillance — a method of random testing where samples were collected from asymptomatic health workers, the elderly, those under quarantine, truck drivers and traders in markets, and primary and secondary cases of positive cases, among others. Samples were also collected from areas where no positive cases were reported. Of the total samples, four tested positive, 5,340 returned negative and results are awaited for the rest.
“We have succeeded in perfectly implementing quarantine and social distancing rules and people have been obeying directions on mask-wearing,” the chief minister said.
The next round of testing as part of sentinel surveillance, with samples taken from districts, began on Monday.
The results of Kerala’s random testing came on a day India’s novel coronavirus count crossed the one-lakh mark, and a day after a record 1,08,233 samples were tested across the country. So far, 24,25,742 samples have been tested.
The Union Ministry of Health also said the country’s Covid fatality rate is far below the global average.
So far, 39,174 patients have been cured of COVID-19 — 2,350 in the last 24 hours — making it a recovery rate of 38.73%.
“In terms of case mortality per lakh population, India has so far about 0.2 deaths per lakh population vis-a-vis approximately 4.1 deaths per lakh population for the world as a whole. India currently has 58,802 active cases. These are all under active medical supervision. Of the active cases, only approximately 2.9% of the cases are in ICU,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Kerala has so far reported 642 cases, with a sudden spike in the last 10 ten days being attributed to arrivals from the Middle East and those from other states. On May 8, the state only had 16 active cases, but the figure rose to 142 on May 19.
Saying the situation has changed from earlier, when most of the cases were traced to those with international travel history, State Health Minister K K Shailaja said, “Now they are coming from highly infected places, including hotspots in other states. The present spurt in cases was expected with the return of expats and those stranded in other states. The virus load is very high among those who returned from infected areas,’’ said the minister.
From less than 700 samples a day in April, Kerala ramped up testing levels in May to rule out community spread. The state tested 1,177 samples on May 1, 4,033 samples on May 2 and 1,034 samples on May 3. But between May 1 and 7, the state reported only six cases, thus ruling out community spread.
So far, the state has tested 46,958 samples, of which 45,527 samples returned negative. The sentinel surveillance on 5,630 samples were in addition to the regular tests.
As many as 74,426 people reached Kerala this month, mostly expats and those stranded in other parts of country.
A state government official said the state had completed Covid monitoring and surveillance work in relation to those who returned to the state before the lockdown.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines