Cumulative death toll due to the pandemic crossed 6,000 in Kerala on Wednesday when daily new cases scaled a new high of 43,529 with a test positivity ratio of 29.75 per cent. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that this is the ‘lag effect’ of a high virus spread ahead of a lockdown declared only five days ago.
The State government has been watching the situation evolve during these five days and is confident that situation will improve during the remainder period. Conditions will be assessed towards the end of the lockdown period based on which a decision, if at all, on extending the lockdown will be taken.
Need to ramp up inoculation
Vijayan was responding to queries on the government’s views on the new high in daily reported deaths at 95 and the cumulative toll of 6,053 in the State on Wednesday. These numbers are very unfortunate, he said, but cannot be reversed unless the State is able to ramp up vaccination of the 45+ age group.
The State government has been repeatedly making a request to the Centre to allot adequate doses of the vaccine. There are an estimated 1.13 crore people in the 45+ age group in the State and their complete coverage would translate into a requirement of 2.26 crore doses, Vijayan said.
Meanwhile, he confirmed that the State has received the initial batches of Covishield and Covaxin requisitioned for vaccinating the 18-45 age group. Although the government wants to include all in the drive, it is just not possible to achieve it at one go, he said citing the acute vaccine shortage.
Better antigen test kits
Vijayan also declared that only those who emerge negative in the antigen tests need henceforth go for an RT-PCR test to confirm the infection. This is in line with the latest ICMR guidelines, Vijayan said. Qualitatively better antigen test kits are available now, which will go to ensure better results that were the case earlier. Daily wage earners, housekeepers and homecare workers can apply on the government website or the Kerala Police mobile app for passes for commuting to work. Senior citizens venturing out for medical treatment are now allowed to take two helpers other than the driver.