Kerala reports highest COVID-19 cases; what’s the state’s plan?

Kerala, the state where the first COVID-19 case in India was confirmed, is again leading the daily surge in infections. On Wednesday, the state accounted for nearly a third of all new coronavirus infections reported across the country.

Kerala is the second worst-hit state in terms of the absolute number of infections (29,96,094), and the eighth worst-hit in terms of number of fatalities (13,960). The recovery rate in Kerala is 96% and fatality rate is 0.46%, thankfully well below the national average of 1.32%.

While Kerala’s health infrastructure is managing to discharge more patients than new cases emerge on most days, it is also reporting the highest number of new cases. Active cases stand at 1.04 lakh, down from 4.45 lakh in mid-May.

Further, as per the latest update, Kerala added 14,373 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours—a 26-day high and 33% of India’s total new cases. This trend has been consistent for the past several weeks, implying that COVID-19 is spreading fast in Kerala.

Another concerning fact about Kerala is the state’s high test positivity rate (TPR), which stands at an average 10% against a national average of over 2%. This means that for every 10 people tested in the state, at least one was found positive.

To contain the spread, Kerala has extended lockdown curbs by a week. Local self-governments (LSGs) with under 5% TPR will see no restrictions. There will be partial restriction in LSGs with 5-10% TPR, a lockdown in LSGs with 10-15% TPR and a triple lockdown in LSGs with 15+% TPR.

Separately, according to Co-WIN, Kerala has administered over 1.5 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses, including 1.13 crore first doses and 37.5 lakh second doses. The gender gap in vaccinations in Kerala is also narrow.

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