Though Kerala is witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases of late, there is a silver lining as the mortality rate was only 0.36 per cent, Health Minister K K Shailaja said as she praised the tireless efforts of Health workers and urged people not to overwhelm the healthcare system by their negligence.
Lauding the services of the health workers, Ms Shailaja said it was due to their tireless service, the state could keep the state''s death rate at 0.36 per cent despite a high number of cases.
"In the end all that matters is how we reduce the mortality rate. How many lives we could save. That''s our aim. Our mortality rate is still below 0.4 per cent. The mortality rate of 0.36 is the best among the world," she noted.
The southern state had reported the country's first coronavirus case on January 30, a woman medical student whoreturned from Wuhan, the epicentre of deadly virus in China. The second and third cases were also Wuhan returnees from the state and all the three had been successfully treated.
On May 8, after reporting a solitary case and with just 16 people under treatment, Kerala had announced that it had flattened the COVID-19 curve.
But as lockdown restrictions were lifted and people from abroad and other states started returning, positive cases started shooting up.
Five months later on October 7, Kerala's fresh infections crossed the grim mark of 10,000, taking the total infection count to over 2.5 lakh. On Friday, 9250 cases were reported as the infection tally crossed 2.66 lakh.
Experts had predicted that Kerala was likely to witness a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in August and September with daily infections expected to touch between 10,000 to 20,000.
Asked about the spike in cases, Shailaja told PTI that many people had failed to heed the health directions issued during the Onam festivities, resulting in the spurt in cases.
Besides, "various political parties had also launched protests" without following the COVID protocol. "There is a capacity for any health care system. Our department is working selflessly and efficiently for the past eight to ten months so that the patient load will not exceed our system capacity. That's why we request people not to gather and form a crowd. But some just roam around without heeding to our
requests," the minister said.
The Nodal officer of the state health department for communicable diseases, Dr Amar Fettle said the public need to behave responsibly in public places.
He also hit out at various groups and organisations violating health protocol and said the state, the public and the police are equally helpless.
Only 50-60 per cent of the capacity of the government run Covid First Line Treatment Centre (CFLTC) is currently filled with patients and similar was the case with the ventilators in the state. But there have been instances of the elderly getting infected, and this may result in reaching the full capacity of ventilators. More ventilators and ICUs are being set up, he added.