Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja needs 50 lakh more vaccine doses for administration as the state is witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases. Shailaja’s statement comes on the day when Kerala reported 13,835 positive cases, 3654 recoveries and 27 deaths. In the past 24 hours, 81,211 samples collected and the test positivity rate has increased to 17.04%.
“Kerala has received 60.84 lakh vaccine doses, of which 56.75 lakh has been administered. So far, 5.8 lakh doses are in stock,” Shailaja told reporters. The Health Minister said that Kerala has asked for an equal number of Covishield and Covaxin doses during the meeting with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. Shailaja also informed the Centre that Kerala could face an oxygen shortage in the future if the situation does not improve.
According to reports, Kerala has received only two lakh doses on Friday when the state asked the Centre for more than 50 lakh doses. Thiruvananthapuram received 30,000 doses while Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha received 10,000 doses each from the two lakh doses that arrived in Kerala on Friday.
Reports suggest that only 13.39% of 3.65 crore people in the state have received the vaccine. Due to the recent vaccine shortage, many parts of the state had stop vaccination. It is alarming that while 48.97 lakh people have received the first dose, only 5.93 lakh people have received the second dose. Nearly 43 lakh people still have to receive the second phase. As per the recent serosurveillance survey, only 11% of the people living in the state have come in contact with the virus infection which means that 89% could get infected.
Meanwhile, Shailaja has informed that the state is taking measures to reduce the current spreading of Covid-19. In a Facebook post, Shailaja says, “To reduce the speed, mass testing and mass vaccination has started in Kerala. There is an increase in Covid tests in Kerala. Kerala is ready even if the number of patients in mass tests increases. Those without symptoms will be allowed to stay in home isolation. But those who don't have toilet facilities in the room itself will be sent to domicile care centres with the help of the panchayat. Those with minor symptoms will be treated in CFLTCs, CSLTCs and those with serious symptoms will be treated in Covid hospitals.
She added that though the death rate in many states of India is very high, the death rate in Kerala is still only 0.4%. Strict measures are needed to hold the death rate even when the number of patients increases.
Meanwhile, Kerala is facing another crisis. If the number of cases does not start decreasing then the state could be dealing with a shortage of ICUs and ventilators. The state has managed to restrict the death toll despite having high Covid-19 cases. Reports suggest that the state could handle at least 20,000 cases per day but will face problems if the cases do not reduce thereafter.
Kerala has also imposed strict restrictions. The decision to impose restriction was taken during a high-level emergency meeting convened by the Chief Minister.
The number of people attending public events has once again been restricted. Those visiting shopping malls will either need to carry Covid negative certificates or have taken both doses of vaccine. As there is a current shortage of vaccines in the state, the mega vaccination camp will be expanded once the vaccine is available. The government also plans to set up more beds in the intensive care units of the hospitals in the state. District collections have been permitted to declare section 144 if needed. There will restrictions in public spaces. A decision to increase the number of daily Covid tests in the State has also been made.
The state government has capped the number of guests for public events and also restricted its timings. Shops have to close by 9 pm and doorstep delivery of products will be promoted.