THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the Centre pointing the finger at Kerala citing the heavy Covid caseload and alarming infection rate, the state government has decided to test every individual in the containment zones and vaccinate all above 18 years with a negative certificate from Saturday.
The decision was taken at a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday. Interestingly, it came close on the heels of Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya’s announcement that he would make his maiden visit to the state on Monday.
The meeting touched upon the criticism by the central delegation which recently visited the state — particularly about containment strategy, testing, home quarantine and vaccination. Health experts had opined that the spike in fresh cases is directly linked to the large number of susceptible people, who could be saved through vaccination.
The meeting finalised the daily vaccination targets — 40,000 for 10 larger districts and 25,000 for the other four. The CM directed the district authorities to utilise the doses allocated to them in a time-bound manner.
The state has also increased the pace of vaccination. It administered a record 5.35 lakh doses on Friday, beating the 5.15 lakh-mark set two weeks ago. The state has also started a special drive to give vaccines to all above 60 years and bedridden patients above 18 before Sunday. It has covered 5.04 lakh so far.
The meeting decided to restrict gatherings ahead of Onam. Prior permission is needed to organise public functions while government offices should restrict Onam celebrations to arranging “pookkalam”. The Centre had been critical of easing lockdown restrictions ahead of Bakrid.
The CM directed the health department to create awareness to control spread in families. Nearly 85% of the patients in state are under home care. Though the model won praise for not having stretched health system, it led to families forming clusters following spread of delta variant.