Local-level restrictions depending on intensity of disease transmission: CM
Kerala will change the lockdown strategy after June 16, when the current phase of restrictions end, so that rather than a total lockdown across the State, restrictions at various levels may be imposed regionally, depending on the intensity of disease transmission in that locality.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Monday that while there was a reduction in test positivity rate (TPR) across the State by 10% and in new cases by 20% in the past one week, disaggregated data would show a totally different picture at the local body level.
In 14 local bodies, the TPR was above 35%, in 37 local bodies it was between 28-35%, while in 127 local bodies, the TPR was between 21-28%
Hence, decentralised COVID containment strategies would be devised, depending on the level of disease transmission in each local body. The government was also thinking about launching a new campaign to create awareness on the importance of isolating oneself to prevent disease transmission. Disease transmission within families was increasing, he said.
Mr. Vijayan said, according to public health experts, the highly transmissible Delta virus variant was likely to remain in circulation in the State for a long time. Herd immunity for COVID-19 may not be a reality at all or even if it were so, the process could take years, according to experts.
This variant had been found to create breakthrough infections in those who were vaccinated too. Hence, unless people remained vigilant and maintained the COVID protocol strictly post lockdown, disease transmission could again go up, resulting in a third wave in the State.
The Chief Minister said that people need not be too anxious about a third wave of COVID. He said while the State was preparing ahead to meet any health emergency that might arise out of a third wave, it should be remembered that a third wave of COVID cannot happen by itself. A third wave could be a reality only if people let down their guard and relaxed on the COVID protocol. It was the collective responsibility of the State to ensure that another wave of COVID and another lockdown did not happen.
Mr. Vijayan said, henceforth, COVID death reporting would be a decentralised process as per the ICMR protocol, with treating physicians given the responsibility of declaring the cause of death as COVID or not. The reports would be compiled and released at the district level.
As for the retrospective reporting of COVID deaths, he said the Health Department had been directed to clear the backlog of undeclared deaths by June 15, when the State would migrate to a new online, real-time COVID death reporting system.
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