On a day when Kerala reported over 51,000 new COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Veena George on Tuesday, February 1, said the rate of spread of coronavirus in the state has come down compared to the first and second weeks of January. Kerala on Tuesday reported 51,887 cases raising the caseload to 60,77,556 in the state. The state was showing an average test positivity rate (TPR) of 47.6% for the last seven days.
The minister said the state witnessed a 45% TPR in the first week of January which went as high as upto 215% in the third week of the month. "However, the rate of the spread came down to 71% in the fourth week of January and again decreased to 16% in the last week," George told the media here. The minister said currently, only 42.47% of ICU beds in the state are being used by both the COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. "At least 84% of the ventilators are vacant now," she said.
Explaining the revised guidelines for international passengers coming into Kerala, George said those who are visiting the state for less than seven days need not undergo quarantine but should strictly follow COVID-19 guidelines as instructed by the Union government. The state health department also issued new guidelines for the hospitals with regard to the circumstances of Omicron spread. "The patients who are admitted in the hospitals, or in emergency need to be tested for COVID-19 only if they show symptoms. The doctors can suggest for the COVID-19 tests if necessary," the minister said, adding that hospitals must not refuse treatment to any patient if they have the facilities.
"Till now, the government has allotted Rs 3.90 crore for assistance to 103 COVID-19 orphans (those who lost boat parents to COVID-19). A total of 143 applications were received. Rs 3 lakh each will be deposited in the account and Rs 2,000 per month will be paid till they attain 18 years of age," she said. The education expenses of such children till their graduation will be given from the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund.