Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to Kerala and three other States —Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal — which have been reporting an upsurge in the new cases of COVID-19 daily, urging them to take immediate steps to curb the spike. The four States account for 59% of the total active cases in the country.
These States have been advised to maintain a ‘strict vigil’, especially in view of the new mutant strain of the virus, B.1.1.7, first reported in the U.K., which has also been reported in a few States, including Kerala.
Kerala, with a cumulative case burden of 7,90,882 (as on Wednesday), accounts for 7.61% of the total cases. The State also leads in active cases, accounting for 28.61% of the the country.
The State has a case fatality rate of 0.41%. The daily average cases in Kerala in the past seven days are 5,023 whereas daily average deaths in the same period are 23. The tests per million (TPM) of Kerala stand at 1,96,432 and average positivity rate is 11.28%.
The Health Secretary has expressed concern over the dip in the overall tests in the past two weeks in Kerala alongside an increase in test positivity rate (TPR). The weekly TPR has been consistently above 11% for the past two weeks, while the case positivity rate for the country is less than 2.5% for the same period, he said.
‘Find the reasons’
Mr. Bhushan advised the State to analyse the surge at the district and sub-district levels to understand the reasons for this rise and plan adequate measures. He said the ‘Test-Track-Treat’ strategy should be implemented aggressively now more than ever.
A Central team led by S.K. Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), will visit Kerala on Friday to review the public health interventions in management of COVID- 19 by the State