Double trouble: Amid rising COVID cases. number of Zika virus patients reach 35 in Kerala
The virus was confirmed in tests conducted at the Virology Lab of the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, National Institute of Virology (NIV) at Alappuzha and the Microbiology Lab at Coimbatore.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Five more people, including a minor, tested positive for Zika virus in the state, taking the total reported cases of the infection to 35, of which 11 are active, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said on Saturday.
One of the positive cases was reported from Ernakulam, the minister said and added that the person concerned was a health worker in Thiruvananthapuram.
Till now all the cases of Zika have been reported from the state capital.
The virus was confirmed in tests conducted at the Virology Lab of the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, National Institute of Virology (NIV) at Alappuzha and the Microbiology Lab at Coimbatore, the minister said in a release.
On Friday, a meeting was held by state Revenue Minister K Rajan and George on working together, alongwith the Local Self Government department, for preventingspread of communicable diseases and to strengthen thesanitation committees at the ward level.
Meanwhile, the state on Saturday recorded 16,148 fresh COVID-19 cases, pushing the infection caseload to 31,46,981, while the toll rose to 15,269 with 114 more deaths.
As many as 13,197 people were cured of the infection, taking the total recoveries to 30,06,439, leaving 1,24,779 active cases, a state government release said.
Kozhikode logged the most number of cases (2105), followed by Malappuram (2033), Ernakulam (1908), Thrissur (1758), Kollam (1304), Palakkad (1140), Kannur (1084) and Thiruvananthapuram (1025).
Of the new cases, 75 are health workers, 62 had come from outside the state and 15,269 were infected through contact, with the source of contact being not clear in 742 cases, the release said.
In the last 24 hours, 1,50,108 samples were tested, taking the cumulative number of specimens examined so far to 2,52,11,041.
The Test Positivity Rate (TPR) stood at 10.76 per cent.
There are currently 3,99,634 people under surveillance in various districts of the state.
Of these, 3,74,822 are in home or institutional quarantine and 24,812 in hospitals.
A total of 12,381 people were found without masks in public places across the state on Saturday and9,861 cases were registered for violation of COVID-19 protocols, a release by Kerala Police said.
Besides that, 1,949 people were arrested and 3,329 vehicles also seized by police for violation of COVID-19 norms, it said, adding that 108 cases of quarantine violation were also reported from the state.
The state is also exploring the possibility of locally manufacturing medicines, safety kits and medical equipment in the state to ensure their adequate availability ahead of any third wave of COVID-19.
For this a committee of Principal Secretaries of both departments and the managing directors of Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd (KMSCL) and Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KSDPL) will be constituted, ministers of both the departments said in a release on Saturday.
It said that the joint meeting of state Health Minister Veena George and Kerala Industries Minister P Rajeev was convened to ensure availability of safety kits, like gloves, masks and PPE, and medical equipment.
George, in the release, said it would be a great achievement to be able to domestically manufacture the safety and medical equipment required for the health sector as the second wave saw a shortage of many safety devices with many factories in other states being shutdown due to COVID-19.
She said the health sector was preparing itself for the third wave and that necessary medical and safety equipment must be provided in advance.
She further said if these equipment are made in Kerala, it would also help the domestic industries.
George said that if more of the necessary medicines could also be produced in the state, it would reduce the cost of procuring it from outside Kerala and would also benefit the health sector here.
Presently, on an average, only 10 per cent of the drugs required for the state are manufactured in Kerala and the remaining 90 per cent is bought by KMSCL from other states, she said in the release.
On this, Rajeev said, "It is gratifying that the health department has come forward at a time when the industry is seriously considering manufacturing pharmaceuticals."
He also said that the Industries department was conducting a study on whether the state can produce the required drugs along with the COVID safety equipment and KSDPL was making good progress with regard to manufacturing of the medicines.
The Industries department is also going to launch a Medical Equipment and Devices Park for ensuring availability of medical equipment and devices, he said in the release.
"This will provide the necessary medical equipment and at the same time, ensure that quality is guaranteed," he added.