With Kerala witnessing a massive surge in COVID-19 cases, the state government on Thursday decided to call an all party meeting on April 26. The meeting will be online and held at 10.30 am, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters.
Kerala reported 26,995 new cases on Thursday, in the highest single-day surge so far, taking the total infection count to 13.22 lakh and those under treatment to over 1.5 lakh. As many as 6,370 have recovered from the disease, pushing the total recoveries to 11.60 lakh. The toll has climbed to 5,028 with 28 additional deaths.
In a press meet held after a COVID-19 evaluation meet, Pinarayi Vijayan said there are complaints on the rates charged by private hospitals for treatment. Some are charging between Rs 2,300 to Rs 20,000 per day. District authorities will look into the matter, he said, adding that some are exploiting the pandemic situation and overcharging the patients.
The treatment rates should be reasonable. A meeting with the private hospital will be held on Saturday, Vijayan added. Pointing out that vaccination centres were witnessing heavy crowds, Vijayan urged the people not to gather unnecessarily as only those who have registered online can take the jab from the vaccination centres.
Referring to the Union government's announcement that people falling in the age group of 18-45 will be administered vaccines from May 1, he said proper guidelines will be issued with regard to the steps for vaccinating the 1.65 crore people in that age bracket, in a two or three phase drive.
Most Keralites have received Covishield vaccine and its second dose can be delayed up to 12 weeks. Those who have received the first dose need not to hurry to the vaccination centres, he said.
"Those who have taken the vaccine should also remain careful as they can be carriers. We all need to strictly follow the COVID health protocol," he said.
Meanwhile, as many as 28,606 cases were registered in the state on Thursday for not wearing masks and most of them were reported from Kollam district at 4,896. "9,782 cases were registered for not maintaining physical distancing. Those who venture out of their homes should use the mask properly. Those who travel in the car should also wear the masks, even if they are alone. Police will take strong action against the violators," he said.
On Thursday, 1.35 lakh samples were tested and the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) was 19.97%.