India added 13,203 coronavirus infections in 24 hours, taking its tally to 1.84 crore, the Health Ministry data this morning showed. Of these 6,036 cases or 45 per cent of the new infections were reported from one state – Kerala.
While daily cases in the country – including in Maharashtra, one of the worst hit states – have sharply reduced since hitting peak last year, Kerala has been reporting highest daily COVID-19 cases in the country for days.
At least 11 districts in the southern state, including state capital Thiruvananthapuram, are among the top 20 district that continue to report high number of daily infections in the country, sources in the Health Ministry told NDTV.
“Apart from Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Alleppey, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta have been reporting high number of infections,” they said, citing lack of contact tracing and low number of testing as the main reason for the increase in Covid cases in the state.
The state government, sources said, has not increased testing despite recommendations from the Central team which was formed by the centre to assist states worst affected by the pandemic.
“Kerala has not been following contact tracing effectively. At least 4-5 contact tracing is necessary per case. Clinical management also needs to be strengthened in the state,” said the source.
The positivity rate or the percentage of how fast an infection spreads is 12.48 per cent in Kerala, while the national average is 1.9 per cent, according to government data.
“The testing in Kerala is a concern and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) had earlier recommended that daily testing needs to be increased to around 1 lakh. But the per day testing still continues to be between 40,000 to 60,000,” Dr Sulphi Noohu, member of IMA’s central committee, said.
The state government, however, says COVID-19 cases in Kerala are at a plateau and the current numbers are not unexpected.
The state government admits that positivity rate is high but critical care services in the hospitals are not under any pressure as only 15 per cent ventilators and 49 per cent intensive care units are occupied, according to state government statistics.
“We don’t look at only the test positivity rate. We look at the hospital admission rate, ICU admission and ventilator occupancy. If all this seems to increase, then it is a cause of great concern. But that’s not the case,” Dr Mohammed Asheel, core committee member on Covid, told NDTV.
“If cases were not increasing, it would have shown that our ‘break the chain’ campaign had failed. Our success is that our case fatality rate is still among the lowest in india at 0.4%”, he added.
Kerala reported 6,036 cases and 5,173 recoveries, according to the data released by the Health Ministry. While the total caseload soared to 8,90,278, the recoveries have touched 8,13,550, it said.