Covid-19: Kerala to step up route map preparations, contact listing as Assembly election approaches

Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry has directed states and UTs to administer the second dose of Covishield 4-8 weeks after the first dose is given
Covid-19: Kerala to step up route map preparations, contact listing as Assembly election approaches
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As India is preparing to prevent a second wave, Kerala is intensifying route map preparations and Covid-19 contact listing to prevent more cases.

Kerala reported 1,239 new Covid-19 cases out of 34,821 samples on Monday. The test positivity rate is recorded at 3.56%. The state also reported 1,766 recoveries and 12 deaths on Monday. Though the state has increased daily testing, however, every Monday, fewer samples are tested compared to the other days of the week.

With the Assembly election approaching, Kerala is looking to increase testing, preparing route maps and Covid-19 contact listing. After the local body elections in 2020, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said that apart from festivals, the movement of people during local body elections was a reason why the number of cases in Kerala kept rising. However, with Covid-19 positive cases reducing in the state, the health department will be vigilant to avoid another Covid-19 wave.

Although the vaccination drive across the country is moving at a healthy pace, the health department continues to ask senior citizens to avoid unnecessary travel and risky activities. The department continues to urge people to follow Covid-19 guideline i.e., wear masks, sanitize hands and adhere to social distancing norms.

Meanwhile, Karnataka will screen people coming to the state from Kerala, Maharashtra, Chandigarh and Punjab. According to reports, Karnataka Health Secretary Jawaid Akhtar has informed that the state will screen people coming to Karnataka from Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab and Chandigarh at airports, bus stations, railway stations and border checkposts. The Karnataka government aims to curb cases by conducting special surveillance.

Akhtar said that passengers must carry a negative RT-PCR test certificate not older than 72 hours from their respective states to enter Karnataka. However, in case of an emergency like a death in a family or medical treatment, the passenger’s swab will be collected on arrival in Karnataka with identification details for RT-PCR tests.

Meanwhile, the Union Ministry of Health has revised the time window between the administration of the first and the second Covid-19 vaccine doses. The Ministry has directed all states and Union Territories to administer the second dose 4-8 weeks after the first dose is given.

“Given the emerging scientific evidence, the interval between two doses of a specific Covid-19 vaccine i.e. Covishield has been revisited by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and subsequently by NEGVAC in its 20th meeting during which the recommendation has been revised to provide the second dose of Covishield after an interval of 4-8 weeks after the first dose instead of earlier practised 4-6 weeks,” the Health Ministry said.

However, the Ministry added that this revised time is only applicable to Covishield and Covaxin. India has administered a total of 4,84,94,594 vaccines.

Despite the vaccine drive going smoothly, India is on the brink of a second Covid-19 wave as it reported 40,715 new COVID-19 cases, 29,785 recoveries, and 199 deaths in the last 24 hours. With Assembly elections in four states and a Union Territory, political rallies are being held and people are not adhering to social distancing. Many have also noted that people are not wearing masks.

With many festivals coming up, people need to take precaution and follow Covid-19 norms. Many experts are not happy that the public is not following any norms. If the Centre doesn’t restrict large gatherings during festivals and rallies, then India will have a second wave. Reports suggest that the second wave could be more severe than the first wave.

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