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No mutant virus in 11 UK arrivals tested in Kerala

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on January 04, 2021

Covid testing in Kerala (file photo)   -  Thulasi Kakkat

1,609 arrivals till Dec 29; NIV Pune testing 37 samples

Kerala has received 1,609 returnees from the UK during December 3 and 29 of whom 37 tested positive to the Covid-19 virus. Their samples have been sent to the NIV Pune for genome sequencing to assess if they carry the new SARS-CoV-2 virus variant B.1.1.7, according to official sources.

Kerala govt will use Covid-19 vaccine as instructed by Centre: Health Minister KK Shailaja

Results of 11 samples did not find presence of the mutant virus, while results of others are awaited. Meanwhile, the State reported 5,328 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday out of the 54,098 samples tested, taking the cumulative case burden to 7,71,252. The test positivity rate stays at 9.85 per cent, and stubbornly within the range of 9-11 per cent over the past several weeks.

Vaccination dry run held

Meanwhile, the State participated in the nationwide mock drill for the Covid-19 vaccine administration by conducting a dry run, basically for beneficiary vaccination and end-to-end reporting of the entire procedure Health Minister KK Shylaja and senior health officials monitored the progress in Thiruvananthapuram.

At each site, 25 healthcare workers were identified by the medical officer concerned and their data were uploaded on the test link of CoWIN (Covid-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network), an electronic platform readied by the Centre for smooth and seamless facilitation of the entire vaccination process, the sources said.

Efficacy and linkages tested

The dry run tested the platform’s functionality and efficiency and linkages among the planning, implementation, and reporting mechanisms, apart from assessing the State’s cold-chain preparedness, alternative vaccine delivery logistics and proper reporting of adverse events, if any, following vaccination.

Kerala joins ‘free Covid-19 vaccine’ bandwagon

Apart from existing cold-chain arrangements — three walk-in-coolers; 521 ice-lined refrigerators (ILRs) in districts; 69 large ILRs, and another 1,589 ILRs in primary health centres — the Centre has provided 14 lakh auto-disabled disposable needles and syringes, 20 more ILRs, 1,800 vaccine carriers, 100 large and small cold boxes, and 12,000 ice packs to the State.

Registration of beneficiaries

Shylaja told newspersons that there was no official intimation yet regarding when the vaccines would arrive. All districts are prepared to administer the vaccine as and when it arrived and registration of the priority group of frontline healthcare workers was almost complete across the State.

Till now, 3.13 lakh healthcare workers — 1.59 lakh in the government sector and 1.54 lakh in the private sector — had registered names and this was expected to go up to 3.5 lakh. The minister said that there was no need for any worry with regard to the vaccine’s safety as the reports pertaining to its safety profile till now had been excellent. The State proposes to put over 50 lakh of the elderly on the priority list for the second phase and hoped that the Centre would provide adequate vaccine stock to cover this vulnerable population.

Active case numbers climb

Meanwhile, the active case pool in the State climbed to 65,374 on Saturday and 4,985 recovered, with the recovery ratio clocking in at 91.2 per cent. The active ratio came in at 8.4 per cent and the confirmed cases per million at 22,088, much higher than the national average of 7,758. This is being blamed on relaxations in Covid-19 protocol during the festive season, followed by elections to the local bodies.

Sources said on condition of anonymity that the crowds during the campaign and into the voting day during elections to the local bodies through November and December might lead to yet another spike in the number of new daily cases being reported later in January. The situation is being closely monitored.

The addition of 21 more deaths in the past few days to the official list took the toll as on date well past the 3,000-mark to 3,116 (updated to 3,142 on Monday morning). Official reports put the number of critically ill patients undergoing treatment in ICUs in various hospitals at 825 on Saturday with 245 requiring ventilator support.

Published on January 04, 2021

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