THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With Kerala witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing concern over it, the state government said on Friday the numbers went up due to certain relaxations in the restrictions and were expected to go down.
Health Minister Veena George told PTI that preventive mechanisms like enforcing lockdowns, earmarking containment zones and aggressivetesting and tracing by the government ensured that large number of people susceptible to the virus were able to receive proper medical care. "The government's endeavour is to ensure that the number of infected persons never goes above the medical capacity of the state, so that no one dies due to non-availability of beds or oxygen", she said.
George asserted that vaccination was the only way to prevent spread of the virus. Asked about the concerns raised by the PM, she said the "central government team which came to Kerala to inspect the steps taken here was satisfied by the efforts made".
She further said that according to medical experts a plateauing of the number of cases was an expected stage in any pandemic. On Thursday, Kerala recorded 13,772 new COVID-19 cases and 142 deaths, pushing the virus caseload to 30,25,466 and related fatalities to 14,250.
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George attributed the increase in cases to the unlock phase as people came out in large numbers. To a query on overcrowding at certain places, like liquor vends, which had been highlighted by Kerala High Court, George said the matter would be addressed with the help of the police.
The minister said the health department with the help of the police would be taking steps to ensure people follow COVID protocols like social distancing and wearing of masks when they step out of their homes.
The other steps taken by the state to control the spread of the infection are "focused and targeted" testing and tracing, 10 times more testing in areas with a high test positivityrate (TPR) and enforcing triple lockdown in places where numbers are high.
Prime Minister Modi had on Thursday expressed concern over the sight of crowded places with people not following covid-19 norms and warned against any carelessness. He had also voiced concern at the persistently high number of coronavirus cases coming from Maharashtra and Kerala.