No mutant virus in 12 UK arrivals in Kerala

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on January 04, 2021

Samples being tested at NIV Pune

Around 1,609 people returned from the UK to Kerala between December 3 to 29, of which 39 were tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

According to official sources, 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. As on Monday, twelve samples tested did not find the presence of the mutant virus, while results of others are awaited.

Meanwhile, the state reported 3,021 new cases of Covid-19 out of 33,508 samples. The test positivity rate is 9.02 per cent and has stubbornly ranged within a band of 9-11 per cent for past several weeks. Nineteen more deaths have been reported in the past few days taking the toll to 3,160.

Vaccination dry run held

The State participated in the nationwide dry run for the Covid-19 vaccine administration, 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.

Also read: No mutant virus in 11 UK arrivals tested in Kerala

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.

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 post-vaccination events, if any.

Apart from the 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 on Saturday 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.

Also read: Covid vaccination drive to start soon: Modi

Till now, 3.13 lakh healthcare workers - 1.59 lakh in the government sector and 1.54 lakh in the private sector - had registered and this was expected to go up to 3.5 lakh. There is no need for any worry with regard to the vaccine’s safety with safety profile returning excellent results. At least 50 lakh of the elderly may be put on the priority list for the second phase.

Meanwhile, sources said on condition of anonymity that crowds gathering during the campaign and into the voting day during elections to the local bodies through November and December might lead to another spike in the new daily cases of Covid-19 in the state. The situation is being closely monitored.

Published on January 04, 2021

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