The Kerala government has announced a complete lockdown in the state over the weekend (31 July and 1 August), a decision prompted by a high number of COVID-19 cases that have set off the alarm bells even at the Centre.
Alarmed over the situation, the central government is rushing a six-member team to the state to collaborate with state authorities in "instituting effective public health measures".
Newly appointed Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya made the announcement on Twitter.
Central Government is sending 6 member team to Kerala headed by NCDC Director.
As large number of COVID cases are still being reported in Kerala, the team will aid state’s ongoing efforts in #COVID19 management.
— Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) July 29, 2021
On Thursday, the Indian government reported that the country registered 43,509 cases over the past 24 hours; over half of them (22,506) were from Kerala.
The high number of cases in Kerala comes at a time when the country is preparing for a possible third wave of infections.
The central team that will reach Kerala on 30 July will be headed by SK Singh, director of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). It will work closely with the state health department, take stock of the situation and recommend necessary public health interventions.
Kerala, with an active caseload of 1.54 lakh, is contributing 37.1% of the total active cases in the country. Six districts are reporting a weekly positivity rate of over 10% (this means more than 10 are being found positive among 100 people tested).
Since the beginning of the outbreak, Kerala has reported 33, 27, 301 infections, according to covid19india.org. Over 16,000 people have died of the viral disease in the state.
According to the website's data, 9,472.7 people out of every one lakh have tested positive in Kerala. For India, the corresponding number is 2365.3 out of every lakh.
In the last one week, 12% of the samples tested came back positive, even as the state's recovery ratio stood at 95%, covid19india.org data showed. This means for every 100 confirmed cases, 95 recovered.
The Supreme Court recently pulled up the Kerala government, which relaxed COVID-19 restrictions for Bakrid celebrations. But the court did not set aside the relaxations.
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to the Kerala government on "super spreader events" observed in the state recently while stressing the need for strict compliance with mass/social gatherings guidelines, news agency ANI quoted sources as saying.