Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has accused the opposition parties of "trying to sabotage" the state government's COVID-19 mitigation methods. He added that the opposition always challenged the health system.

Allaying fears about the rising number of coronavirus cases, the chief minister said the state government has set up over 20,000 beds, which would be increased to 69,000 within a few days.

"Till July 19, the state government has readied at least 20,404 beds in 187 Covid first-line treatment centres (FLTC). The government has appointed 305 doctors, 572 nurses, 62 pharmacists and 27 lab technicians. We plan to set up 742 FLTCs by July 23 raising the number of beds to 69,215," Vijayan told reporters on Tuesday (July 21).

The chief minister lashed out at the opposition for alleging that the rise in the number of cases in the southern state was due to lapses of the government.

He noted that the opposition parties initially complained that the government was showing less number of cases, but were now blaming them for the rise in it.

"We created a system to regularise the entry of people to the state to control the spread of the virus. But they tried to sabotage it. Some people are continuing to mislead the public through their propaganda.

“Don't you all remember the protest by the opposition parties at the state's borders, demanding that everyone be allowed into the state without a pass?" Vijayan asked.

"I would like to ask the opposition whether they have taken any creative stand during this pandemic period rather than challenging the system, the High Court and the people of the state.

They called for protests violating COVID-19 protocol. The damage it causes will not only affect them but the whole state.

They have always adopted a negative approach and said there was no need for following the instructions given by the state and the health workers," he said.

Vijayan pointed out that all the FLTCs will have OP and telemedicine facilities and one ambulance service each. "There are 59 testing centres in the government sector alone. In the private sector, there are 51 centres. The state government has also held talks with the representatives of private hospitals and discussed the rates to be charged for treating COVID patients," Vijayan said.

He observed that the fight against Covid-19 was "similar to a marathon which is a true test of endurance."

The CM claimed that Kerala still has one of the lowest case-fatality rates in the world.

The case fatality rate was 0.33% much less than the national average.

"Even at this time, the low mortality rate in an area with such a high population density, geriatric population and high incidence of diseases indicates that Kerala's defence is excellent," Vijayan said.

Kerala on Tuesday reported 720 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of those who tested positive in the state to 13,994.

Out of the 720 positive cases, 528 were infected from their contacts.

(With inputs from PTI)

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