Learn from Onam surge in Kerala: Harsh Vardhan

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Written by Kaunain Sheriff M
, Shaju Philip
| New Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram |

October 19, 2020 4:00:37 am

Reiterating that individuals ought to keep away from giant gatherings in the course of the competition season that’s developing, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Sunday pointed to Kerala, which had managed the unfold of Covid initially to be tagged as a mannequin state however then “paid the price for its gross negligence” in the course of the week-long festivities to mark Onam ultimately of August.
During his weekly interplay on social media, Harsh Vardhan additionally acknowledged that group transmission “is expected to occur, especially in densely populated areas” however “limited to certain districts in a limited number of states”.
Kerala Health Minister Ok Ok Shailaja sought to minimize the Union Minister’s feedback on “negligence” throughout Onam, saying he had not criticised the state however was “alerting other states to take steps to avoid gatherings, which had happened in Kerala during the Onam celebrations”.
However, Kerala’s Opposition events described the Centre’s remarks as a “chargesheet” that highlighted the “failure” of the Left regime.
Responding to a query on how Kerala is inching in direction of the 3-lakh mark total whereas setting a each day report of Covid circumstances, Harsh Vardhan mentioned: “After having good control over the virus during the initial phase of the pandemic, the situation has now worsened. I would say that other states should learn a lesson from Kerala’s spurt in Covid-19 cases due to negligence during the Onam season. I would also say that all states need to be careful during the coming festive season…This caution must be exercised for the next three months at least.”
Over the final 24 hours, Kerala reported 9,016 new circumstances, second solely to Maharashtra with greater than 10,000 each day circumstances. On Friday, a central workforce was despatched to Kerala following the surge.
“Between January 30 and May 3, Kerala reported just 499 cases and two deaths; and the majority of the confirmed cases were concentrated in Kasaragod and Kannur districts. Subsequently, Covid-19 cases cropped up in other districts, due to an increase in both inter and intrastate movement of people because of trade and tourism. And then the epic curve of Kerala changed completely due to Onam festivities across the state during the months of August and September,” Harsh Vardhan mentioned.
“Onam festival lasted between August 22 and September 2. During this period, there were huge congregations across the state where people collected in large numbers and obviously did not take adequate precautions. Kerala, which was reporting an average of 2,000 daily cases in the first week of September, reached 4,000 average daily new cases fortnightly. Which means Kerala started adding 7,000-8,000 daily news cases,” he mentioned.
In response, Kerala Minister Shailaja mentioned she had known as the Union Minister following studies on his remarks. “He was answering a question about the hike in Covid cases in Kerala. As festival seasons are ahead in other states, he was alerting other states to take steps to avoid gatherings, which had happened in Kerala during the Onam celebrations. We agree with that, the Chief Minister had earlier stated that gatherings during Onam celebrations, marriages and protests have created complacency in the minds of people, which eventually led to increase in cases. The Union Minister had only pointed that out.”
Speaking to The Indian Express final week, Shailaja had mentioned that in the course of the lockdown, Kerala had flattened the graph and the speed of unfold was at its lowest. “But with the central government opening up and allowing trains and flights… during June to September, Kerala had 9 lakh people coming in from other states and countries. Then we had Onam and there was some relaxation, people did not follow the rules during the festival season. So we witnessed a rise in cases in August,” she had mentioned, including that numerous protests by Opposition events additionally led to “huge gatherings”.
However, Kerala Social Security Mission government director Dr Mohammed Asheel posted on his Facebook web page that “politician Harsh Vardhan can say anything”. “But if he speaks because the Union Health Minister, he ought to say solely after studying issues exactly. What he mentioned is flawed to the core. If unsure, ask your scientists in ICMR,’’ he posted. Asheel works with the State Social Justice Department, which is beneath Shailaja, and is likely one of the members of a core workforce advising the Health Department on Covid methods.
Kerala Opposition chief Ramesh Chennithala mentioned: “Kerala has failed in Covid-control measures. To artificially show that the state is effectively managing the situation, all cases are not detected and the number of tests is not increased,” the Congress chief mentioned. BJP state chief Ok Surendran mentioned the Union Minister’s assertion was a “severe setback for Kerala” and requested the state authorities to hunt the Centre’s help.
Meanwhile, responding to a query on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Bannerjee’s assertion that there are situations of group transmission within the state, Harsh Vardhan mentioned: “…in different pockets across various states, including West Bengal, community transmission of Covid-19 is expected to occur especially in densely populated areas. However, this isn’t happening across the country; and community transmission is limited to certain districts occurring in a limited number of states,” Vardhan mentioned.
The Centre, by the way, has began an intensive consciousness marketing campaign for the “Jan Andolan” launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Covid-appropriate behaviour within the backdrop of the festive season. It has issued an in depth SOP directing states to make sure compliance with bodily distancing, sanitisation and thermal screening.
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