Thiruvananthapuram: In a blow to the Kerala government’s fight against COVID-19, the percentage of contact cases in the overall number has gone way past its estimates.
The state’s preventive measures were aimed at keeping contact cases to below 30 per cent of the total cases. However, such cases now account for 60 per cent of the total.
The rapid increase in positive cases is not due to domestic contact with people coming from outside, Dr B Ekbal, chairman of the government’s expert committee on COVID, told a high-level meeting in which Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also took part.
The government had expected most contact cases to be reported from families of those who returned to Kerala from outside, an assumption that has been proven wrong.
Most people have contracted the coronavirus from outside their homes, show government data. In some districts, in fact, the rate of contact cases is very high. In view of the experience in the Thiruvananthapuram district, the meeting emphasised the need to test those working in shops and markets.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan suggested that phone booking should be encouraged to prevent people from crowding at shops.
It was suggested that shops could take orders over the phone. Customers could collect the orders after shops inform them over the phone when the items are packed.
1,162 new contact cases
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala reported 1,310 new COVID cases on Friday, including those that were not included on the list issued on Thursday.
Of these, 1,162 people — or 88% of the cases — got the virus through contact. This includes 36 cases whose source is not known.
In Wayanad, all the 124 reported cases were because of contact. In Thiruvananthapuram, of the 320 new cases, 311 were due to contact.
Across the state, 48 people who came from abroad, 54 people who arrived from other states and 20 health workers tested positive on Friday, while 864 people recovered. The government confirmed three more COVID deaths, taking the death toll in the state to 73.
On Thursday, 885 people tested COVID positive. However, 425 people who also were positive could not be included in the official list on Thursday due to a technical glitch. They were included in the list released on Friday.
VIP rooms in COVID hospitals
All COVID hospitals in the state should reserve three rooms exclusively for VIPs and important persons, the director of the health department said in an order.
Meanwhile, the department also said that private hospitals can take their own decisions on COVID treatment.