Kerala on Wednesday reported over a thousand coronavirus cases in a day for the first time since the deadly illness hit the country early this year. The state, which had been praised for keeping its COVID-19 total relatively low, with an addition of 1,038 today, has 8,818 active cases as of now.
Of the cases reported today, 785 were result of coming in contact with infected locals. 57 cases, however, couldn't be traced to a source.
Thiruvananthapuram, the state's capital, reported the highest number of new cases in on Wednesday - 226 cases - of which 205 are through local contacts.
"Of the total number of positive cases, 65.16% are currently locally acquired (locally transmitted) and Thiruvananthapuram district has the highest at 94.4%," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told media during his evening press briefings.
Despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases, Mr Vijayan said, that the state was doing better than the rest of the country as far as case load is concerned.
"The case per million in Kerala is 419.1 as against the national figure of 864.4. The fatality rate in the State is 0.31 as compared to 2.41 in India," he said.
On being asked about the possibility of a complete lockdown in the wake of rapidly rising total of coronavirus cases, the Chief Minister said: "We have earlier also gone for a complete lockdown. There are similar opinions emerging. We have not decided on anything. But this has to be seriously looked into".
On being asked about the viability of a long-term lockdown, Mr Vijayan said, "Both sides are being argued for. No final decision has been taken. All sides will be seriously considered before a final decision is taken."
As of now, 6,164 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the state. As part of the discharge policy, patients in Kerala are being released from hospitals only after they test negative, unlike many states.
Mr Vijayan today said that all patients - including asymptomatic patients - will be discharged from hospitals only after they test negative in the antigen tests.