Thiruvananthapuram: A high voter turnout in the three-phases of the civic polls is significant as they were held in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Kerala reporting a high number of cases daily. The excellent polling figures may, however, add to worries over a likely spike in COVID-19 cases as could be expected when people turn out in large numbers and line up before polling booths while making a pretence of adhering to the social distancing norms envisaged these days.
The state government has decided to make elaborate arrangements anticipating a huge spike in COVID-19 cases as the voting for local body polls ended on Monday.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting which also decided to raise the number of daily tests between 75,000 to 1 lakh. Currently, on average 50,000 tests are being conducted daily.
The government estimates that if the elections spur more COVID cases then that would start reflecting from Wednesday.
More treatment centres
The district medical officers have been directed to set up more Covid First-Line Treatment Centres (CFLTCs) in each district. In Thiruvananthapuram, 15 more CFLTCs will be opened. In other districts also at least 10 new CFLTCs each will be opened.
Officials who were on election duty complaining of any discomfort will be subjected to Covid tests. Though there was a plan to test all officials who had discharged election duty, the idea was dropped since such an exercise would have adversely affected the functioning of government departments.
The fear about a further rise in COVID infection arises from the lax adherence to safety protocols in force. The experts at the high-level meeting observed that the officials who should have been role models for others on COVID safety protocol had themselves thrown all norms to the winds. Huge rush was witnessed in public meetings held as part of the poll campaign in all districts. No social distancing norms were complied with in election campaign vehicles.
Experts informed the meeting that the finale of the poll campaign was organized in many parts of Malabar in blatant violation of the norms.
Large unsafe gatherings were also witnessed at the centre from where poll material was distributed in Thiruvananthapuram on the eve of the first phase of the poll on December 8.
Cases cross 99 lakh mark
New Delhi: The overall COVID cases in the country so far has crossed 99 lakh mark since its outbreak nearly a year ago. Of these 94.07 lakh people have been cured of the infection and 1.43 lakh people succumbed to the infection.
On Sunday 27,071 more people were tested positive, while 30,695 recovered from the infection and 336 persons died.
The COVID recovery rate in the country is now close to 95 per cent.
The highest number of Covid cases and recovery in the country is being reported from Kerala, Maharashtra and Bengal. The death rate is high in Maharashtra, Bengal and Delhi.