Covid-19: Kerala sees new cases, recoveries at new single-day highs

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on June 05, 2020 Published on June 05, 2020

Third wave challenges spike death toll to double-digits

Kerala has recorded 94 new Covid-19 cases and 39 recoveries on Thursday, the highest in a day till date, as third wave of infections rage in the State from increasing arrivals of expatriates from other states as well as from abroad. The death toll is at 14, after being nearly frozen at single-digits for long.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters that of the 94 new cases, 47 had landed from abroad while 37 returned from worst-affected States in India. Seven are local transmission cases. June 4 also witnessed three deaths, the highest number to be reported on a single day.

Deaths toll

The first death was reported on March 28, the second on March 31, and third on April 24. After a lull, the death toll suddenly jumped by six from May 22 to 31, as evacuation/repatriation of citizens gathered pace. And the first four days of June saw five deaths.

The saving grace is that recoveries too have picked up smartly into double figures from mid-May to a high of 39 on Thursday. The state has now recorded 1,588 confirmed cases; 884 active cases (55.67 per cent); 690 recoveries (43.45 per cent); and 14 deaths (0.88 per cent).

Flattened once, reverses now

The State had managed to flatten the Covid-19 active case curve during May 7-11, along with that of the confirmed cases, but both have now reversed in an exponential fashion since then. The curve representing the number of recoveries is also catching up along with active cases offering some relief.

Earlier on June 1, the Chief Minister had said that the State had managed to attain a basic reproduction number of Covid-19 at an 0.45 as against the world average of 3. In epidemiology, the basic reproduction number of an infection is the count of the spread of the infection from one patient to others.

“The uniqueness of the State’s preventive measures has been the emphasis on public health and the five components of trace, quarantine, test, isolate and treat. In most places with maximum cases, trace and quarantine was avoided but other steps were fully implemented,” CM explained.

“We could contain the spread because of such interventions. The decentralised public health system is our biggest strength. An estimated 75 per cent of the active has come from outside and only 25 per cent is from local contact. We could attain a basic reproduction number of Covid-19 at 0.45.”

No community spread

Home quarantine and contact tracing should be continued vigorously in future. He reiterated that there is no community spread of the virus in the State even though the epidemiological linkage or the origin could not be traced in some cases. Thus, will be treated secondary contacts cases.

With a large number of citizens coming back from other States and countries, the State has decided to ramp up the testing to 3,000 tests per day. The Chief Minister, in response to allegations that the State was not doing enough tests, said that they were following ICMR guidelines in this context.

Initially, the swab testing facility was available only at the Virology Institute at Alappuzha but now 15 ICMR-approved institutions are conducting the tests, apart from five private labs.

“Later, we had decided on conducting antibody tests on a large scale but the test kits from ICMR were of inferior quality and ICMR itself recommended against using them. Now with more people coming from outside the State, we have decided to increase the number of tests being done per day to 3,000,” said CM.

Quarantine numbers swell

Sentinel surveillance tests are been done to check any community spread. As per ICMR recommendations, those with normal viral fever will also be tested for Covid-19 infection. Primary contact or local transmission cases are still very low.

As of Thursday, the number of people under surveillance were around 1.70 lakh, within striking distance of the highest recorded during the first wave. Of these, 1.68 lakh are under home or institutional quarantine and 1,487 are in isolation in hospitals. The day saw 225 new admissions.

Around 3,787 samples were tested on June 4. So far, 76,383 samples have been sent for testing and 72,139 came out negative. As part of sentinel surveillance, 18,146 samples were collected and of these, 15,264 were negative. Overall, 99,962 samples have been tested till date, taking the tests per million in the State to 1,440 on May 24.

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Published on June 05, 2020
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