Covid-19: BJP, CPI(M) spar as case count remains high in Kerala

By: |
July 29, 2021 3:01 PM

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar attacked the CPI(M)-ruled state, alleging that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's failures represents a big risk to all of India.

kerala covidThe court said the sole reason for crowding at liquor outlets was that alcohol was not being sold like any other normal commodity

Kerala, which boasts of having India’s best healthcare system, has reported more than half of the country’s total COVID-19 case count in the past few days, kicking up a heated exchange between the BJP and state’s ruling CPI(M).

The southern state on Wednesday alone recorded 22,056 fresh COVID-19 cases — more than half of India’s total coronavirus tally of 43,654.

While health experts and policymakers in the state cited Kerala’s lowest seroprevalence for reason of spike in daily COVID cases, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar attacked the CPI(M)-ruled state, alleging that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s failures represents a big risk to all of India.

Hitting back at the BJP and its minister, senior CPI(M) leader and former Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac urged the centre to provide more vaccines to Kerala than free advice.

According to Dr Suresh Kumar, Head of the Institute of Palliative Medicine, Kozhikode Medical College hospital, there are two modes in checking the spike of the virus.

“One is through vaccination and the other naturally. As per a recent report of the ICMR, Kerala has the lowest seroprevalence at 44 per cent and hence the rest 56 per cent are still vulnerable to the virus whereas the rate is around 70 in most other states,” Suresh Kumar told PTI.  He said Kerala never experienced a peak in spikes and the hospitals in the state were not overburdened “as we were following the protocols almost meticulously preventing natural immunity.”

Suresh Kumar opined that the spike is likely to continue till people acquire resistance level.

In a tweet, Isaac echoed the views of the experts and said Kerala has the lowest seroprevalence of 44 per cent, MP highest at 79 per cent.

“It implies that Kerala has managed Covid better. Its multiple of seroprevalence to reported case load is also lowest. Therefore, present spike in case load is due to failure of Centre in providing sufficient vaccine,” he said.

Urging the Centre to provide more vaccines to states that have lower seroprevalence rate, Isaac said they are more vulnerable to infection.

“The present policy of vaccine distribution punishes states that have protected larger proportion of people from infection. Provide more vaccine to Kerala than free advices,” he tweeted.

His tweet came, a day after the BJP blamed “politics of appeasement” for the rise in COVID-19 cases in Kerala and criticised the state government for the relaxations in restrictions it had given for Eid-ul-Adha. Noting that Kerala’s latest daily tally of over 22,000 cases is more than half of the country, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on Wednesday said the Left government in the southern state went ahead with relaxations for the festival despite the Supreme Court expressing its displeasure over it.

Taking on the Left government on the issue, Union Minister Chandrasekhar, a Keralite, warned that the failures of the Left government could lead to a third wave of COVID-19 in the country.

“The #Kerala governance unravelling with serious consequences for Malayalees n rest of country. Kerala govt undr @vijayanpinarayi’s failures rprsnts a big risk to all of India, as this cud lead to 3rd wave of #COVID19”, the minister tweeted.

According to Dr B G Ranganath, former head of the department of Community Medicine of the Malabar Medical College near here, “the more we restrict herd immunity, the more we are denying resistance level,” arguing for lifting of restrictions imposed in virus affected areas in the state.

Noting that Kerala was a leader in COVID-19 control initially as people were mostly cooperative and participated in COVID protocols, he said it was a different story in other states and it resulted in increasing the resistance. “I feel more relaxations including removal of lockdowns would bring natural immunity as that through vaccination would take more time,” he said.

N Basheer, a former Excise Inspector and a social worker in Karaparamba in Kozhikode, alleged that the unilateral decisions by the government without due consultation and discussions with representatives from all walks of life are playing spoilsport in COVID-19 scenario in the state.

K V Anwar, president of the Malappuram Chamber of Commerce, wondered whether the prevailing regulations are practical and would help in containing the spread of virus. “We need to acquire more immunity and the state was denied a chance for a natural course to take place,” he said.

Anwar said the authorities should concentrate more on vaccinations and let businessmen open shops and establishments but on strict COVID protocols.

“Authorities should promote vaccination tags for shops to encourage jabs for employees,” he said.

Dr T SAnish, who specialises in community medicine, quoted the latest serological studies and claimed that the rate of infection is comparatively lower in Kerala.

“The present high number indicates that Kerala was able to detect the infection better than other states. The under-reporting cases are also comparatively less here,” Dr Anish told PTI.

He said Kerala is one of the states which has implemented the inoculation drive in the most effective manner.

“If 30 per cent of people in the country have taken the first dose of the vaccine, it is 50 per cent in Kerala,” he said. Stating that the only way to contain the deadly virus infection is “rampant vaccination’, he said people should continue to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour and try maximum to keep themselves safe at home to avoid getting infected.

“We need more vaccine doses than other states. We can protect the susceptible people in Kerala only by pumping more vaccines to the state,” he said.

Kerala on Tuesday had recorded 22,129 COVID-19 cases with the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) going back to more than 12 per cent. Some of the worst affected districts in the state are Malappuram (3,931), Thrissur (3,005), Kozhikode (2,400), Ernakulam (2,397), Palakkad (1,649), Kollam (1,462), Alappuzha (1,461), Kannur (1,179), Thiruvananthapuram (1,101) and Kottayam (1,067).

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