THRISSUR: Though the authorities insist that Kerala has so far been able to stave off community transmission of COVID-19, at least a few pockets in three neighbouring districts situated in central and northern Kerala are on the verge of community spread, if the latest cases are any indication.
Thrissur, Palakkad and Malappuram districts together account for over half of the local transmission cases in the state during the third wave of COVID.
As many as 220 people were infected through local contacts from May 4 to June 14 after the state allowed the NRKs (non-resident Keralites) to return. Of the 220 cases, the three districts — Thrissur 43, Palakkad 39 and Malappuram 33 —together account for 115 cases.
Further, of the total 36 locally transmitted cases among the health workers, 19 are from these three districts, the break-up being Thrissur-9, Palakkad-7 and Malappuram-3.
Many pockets in these three districts are on the verge of community spread.
However, the health authorities maintain that when compared to the department’s projected cases, these districts are still below the projected level.
For instance, around 165 out of the total 499 confirmed cases in the state till May 3 got the virus through local contact.
But during the third phase, of the total 1,962 cases which tested positive, only 220 cases were locally transmitted. If the local transmission rate till May 3 was around 33 per cent, it is about 11 per cent in the third phase.
Amar Fettle, state nodal officer for H1N1 and COVID, said it is true that the rise in the number of cases among health workers and the local transmission cases has raised eyebrows.
Though the department had anticipated this, the public is yet to rise to the occasion considering the gravity of the incidence.
A senior official said in the wake of the unlocking measures, only around 30 per cent of people in the state are complying with the standard health measures suggested by the government.
Anything that compromises social distancing and wearing face mask can prove disastrous.
Further, only less than 20 per cent of the registered NRKs have arrived in the state so far. It means people will have to take things seriously. Otherwise the situation will not be easy to handle, he said.