Central team recommends testing, tracing, containment measures to deal with COVID crisis in Kerala
Negligence in the monitoring of Covid-19 patients in home isolation and not following central guidelines are among the reasons behind the high Covid-19 numbers in Kerala, a central team that visited the state has told the Union Health Ministry.
New Delhi: The Central team sent to Kerala amid rising Covid-19 cases has criticized the Kerala model of pandemic containment in its report saying that the contact tracing remains low while the containment strategy is poor.
The team suggested enhanced testing, contact tracing, containment measures to deal with the recent surge in infection. Along with these steps, proper hospital infrastructure like ICU and ventilator beds also need to be augmented on an urgent basis, said the multi-disciplinary teams sent by the central government to Kerala.
The six-member team of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was sent to Kerala last week by the Centre to take stock of the pandemic situation in Kerala. The southern state accounts for over 50% of active Covid-19 cases in the country.
The findings of the team, submitted to the Union Health Ministry, reveal that more than 90% of the positive patients are in home isolation. The team said the home isolation guidelines are not being followed and suggested institutional quarantine in the state.
"Kerala's 14 districts are presently reporting more than 20,000 cases per day and according to May' 2021 data, over 80 per cent of circulating strains are of the Delta variant," read a draft report published by the central multi-disciplinary team that reached Kerala on July 30, 2021.
Meanwhile, the Central team also observed that people are not even wearing face masks.
The NCDC team said the contact tracing ratio is also very low at 1:1.5 while it should be 1:20.
The NCDC team also highlighted that there is a heavy dependence on rapid antigen tests (RAT) as more than 80% tests are conducted using this method. The committee has recommended following the RT-PCR test, which is the gold standard test for Covid-19.
The team was divided into Team - 1 for Southern districts of Kerala and Team - 2 for Northern Districts.
While Team 1 visited Alappuzha, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, and Thiruvananthapuram districts of Kerala, Team 2 visited Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, and Kasargod districts of the state.
The Central teams included the following experts, Dr Sujeet Singh, Director, NCDC, Dr P Ravindran, Former DDG, Dr SK Jain, Advisor (PH), NCDC, Dr K Regu, Addl. Director, Kozhikode Branch, NCDC, Dr Pranay Verma, Joint Director, NCDC, and Dr Ruchi Jain, Public Health Specialist.
Kerala recorded more than 20,000 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday. The number of people who succumbed to Covid-19 rose to 17,103 with 148 deaths, while the test positivity rate (TPR) was 11.48%.
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