Kerala’s testing average is far below the national average of 2,679 tests per million population.

Pinarayi Vijayan meeting media
Coronavirus Coronavirus Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 20:13

With Kerala witnessing an exponential spike in the number of people being infected by the novel coronavirus, the state government has decided to increase its testing capacity. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said that 3,000 samples will be tested each day.

“At the all-party meeting held today (Wednesday), many had suggested that the state should increase its testing capacity. The government has already taken a decision on the matter. Earlier, we did not have enough test kits, but now we have. In the coming days, 3,000 tests will be conducted per day. Necessary arrangements for this are being done,” said Pinarayi Vijayan.

Kerala’s testing average had been below the national average. Though Kerala was aggressively testing in March and April, at present, it stands far behind, compared to other south Indian states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Read: Kerala lags in COVID-19 testing even as cases rise once more

Meanwhile, 40 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Wednesday. While 28 people among this came from other Indian states, nine are foreign returnees and three people contracted the virus by contact. Ten samples returned negative.

‘Paid institutional quarantine not for everyone’

After severe criticisms on the CM's statement that those returning from abroad, including labourers, will have to pay for the mandatory institutional quarantine facility, the government has changed its stance.

Many including Congress and BJP leaders had come out with sharp criticisms. On Wednesday, the CM said that the criticisms were based on misunderstandings.

“The poor need not be concerned. The government will ensure their safety. The government’s stance is only to get payment from those who can afford to pay. More details regarding this will be conveyed” he said.

The CM also clarified that the decision to impose payment for those who can afford to pay was the state government’s own stance.

Pinarayi responds to Muraleedharan’s allegations

Refuting Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan’s claims that he was not invited timely for the all-party video conference held on Tuesday, the CM said that he was invited and even participated in it.

“The personal staff of V Muraleedharan was given the link to the video conferencing. It was also conveyed to us that he will not be able to participate throughout the meeting as he had some other engagements. Moreover, during the video conference, it was visible that his office was connected,” Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Muraleedharan had alleged that he was only invited later in the day through WhatsApp by his office staff, for the video conference that was scheduled for the morning.

The CM also responded to Muraleedharan’s allegation that Kerala is trying to create misunderstanding among people by stating that paid institutional quarantine was the Centre's direction.

The state government had earlier said that the seven-day institutional quarantine, which foreign returnees had to undergo, was free.

“The state had at first said that all NRIs can go into home quarantine, but when it was learnt that the people coming on special flights are not being tested before boarding, the state was forced to change its stance. We made seven-day institutional quarantine compulsory, followed by another seven days in home quarantine,” said CM.


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