At the moment, Kerala is witnessing a see-sawing of COVID-19 positive cases. If March 28 saw a relative lull of only six positive cases, down from 39 on March 27, Sunday saw yet another spurt. 20 more persons were tested positive in Kerala on Sunday.
With the new set of cases, the total confirmed cases in Kerala have crossed 200. It is now 202. But the active cases, after taking out the 20 who had recovered and one who had died, is 181.
An official statement said that 18 of the 20 cases that turned positive today had come from foreign countries. The remaining two had contracted the virus from contact with the persons who had come from other countries. Meaning, there is still no proof of secondary infection, or community transmission, in Kerala.
Of the 20 confirmed cases, eight are from Kannur and seven from Kasaragod. The number of active cases in Kasaragod has now risen to 80, and that of Kannur to 38. One each are from Thiruvananthapruam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Malappuram.
Though Thiruvananthapuram (8) and Palakkad (5) have lower numbers of confirmed cases, these districts have the highest number of people in isolation. In the case of Thiruvannthapruam it is 18,145 and for Palakkad it is 18,837.
Health officials point out that more people in quarantine is a healthy sign as it considerably brings down the chances of community spread. On the other hand, Kasaragod, where confirmed cases are burgeoning, the number under surveillance is only 7042, less than even 40 per cent of people quarantined in Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad.
The person who had tested positive in Ernakulam is a health worker, the second of the frontline warriors in Kerala to be infected. Incidentally, Ernakulam did not have a single case in the last three days.
The condition of the Thiruvananthapuram native, who was tested positive on Sunday, is serious. It is not clear how he got the infection. The doctors who had attended to him at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram are also under observation.
There was some relief, too. Four persons who were thought to be high-risk in Pathanamthitta district have thrown up negative results. In the initial stages it was feared that Pathanamthitta would be the first district that could be hit by a community transmission. This fear has now waned almost fully.
The test results of an Idukki-based political leader, who had earlier tested COVID-19 positive, have returned negative. Test results of EP Usman from Cheruthoni in Kerala's Idukki district had come in positive on March 26.
Since March 23, the day 28 had tested positive, Kerala had seen a wave-like up and down nature in the number of cases reported. From March 23, the number of positive cases were 28, 14, 9, 19, 39, 6, 20.
A top health official, an oncologist who works in one of the isoltion wards, said this did not mean that Kerala's COVID-19 status was highly vague. "The rise in cases comes from the samples of those who had been quarantined for nearly two weeks. In the next one week or so, the number will fall consistently," the doctor said.
At the moment, 1,41,211 people are under observation in Kerala, up from 1,34,370 the previous day. Of this, 1,40,618 or more than 99 per cent are still in home quarantine. The number of people, the high-risk cases, in hospitals have come down marginally from 620 to 593.
Till now, 6690 samples have been sent for testing and 5518 of them have shown no traces of the virus.