Kochi: Kerala’s fabled COVID success story is coming under strain due to the return of natives from other parts of the country and abroad.
Though the figures may sound low when compared to badly hit states like Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra, the state is now being subjected to the third wave of virus transmission.
Kerala has reported two COVID deaths and 273 new cases in the past five days, taking the total death toll to seven and the tally of infections to 963. There were 42 new cases on Friday and 62 more on Saturday. On Sunday, 53 persons tested positive, and 49 on Monday. Tuesday topped it all with as many as 67 positives, which is the highest single-day spike since the virus outbreak was reported in January end.
This sequential spurts of positives broke a three-month sequence of slow increase of fresh cases, low mortality, and high recovery rates. These factors helped the state in flattening the virus transmission curve.
But a reversal of the trend has been seen since the second week of May. This coincided with the huge inflow of non-resident Keralites through rail, road, air, and waterways from badly hit red zones.
On Sunday a 53-year-old woman, a native of Wayanad, who returned from Dubai died at the Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode. On Monday a 62-year-old woman from Dharmadam in Kannur district succumbed to the infection.
A total of 133 persons who returned from foreign countries have tested positive, most of them arriving from the UAE. Though most of the new positive cases are NRKs, more than 30 persons contracted the virus infection through contact in the last couple of days. There are cases where the source of infection is unknown. The number of health workers getting virus infection also is on the rise. The number of containment zones and persons under observation also is on the increase. More than one lakh persons are currently under isolation, in both home and institutional quarantine.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has termed the situation as very alarming. “The state is facing a deep crisis situation. There is no idea how far the transmission will escalate. But despite the sharp increase in new cases the state government will not shut doors on expats. The government will take necessary preventive measures,” he added.
The state has been maintaining a strict home quarantine system with regular surveillance which helps the authorities to control virus transmission through contact. As per the revised quarantine guidelines, only those who have a separate room with toilet facility will be sent for home quarantine. All others who return from other states and counties will have to choose institutional quarantine or paid quarantine. Several hotels and lodges have arranged rooms for NRKs coming from outside.