KOCHI: Kerala is witnessing a sudden spike in the number of Covid-19 cases as more expats are returning to the state. As per the state government’s assessment, the third wave of virus transmission will be very dangerous as most of the non-resident Keralites are returning from worst-hit containment and red zone areas. As the exodus of expatriates begun, the government has intensified the preventive and control measures.
The number of infected persons could reach 2000 in coming months, if the inflow of Malayali expatriates continues at the current pace, assessed the state cabinet. Expatriates are returning by rail, road, air and water routes.
Health minister KK Shailaja had earlier warned that the fresh wave of virus infection would be dangerous as the situation will go out of control if those coming from red zone areas ignore Covid-19 health protocol.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, while denying reports of community spread in the state, said that the rapidly increasing cases will create a serious situation.
“Keralites living outside state have all the right to come back to their native state and the government will not prevent them. But, all of them should follow the quarantine guidelines and it is the responsibility of local bodies’ ward level committees, police and health authorities and residents’ associations to ensure that no one is flouting the guidelines. Kerala is the state where home quarantining has been successfully implemented,” the chief minister said during the daily press conference.
Though Kerala could maintain a graph of slow increase of cases, low mortality rate and high recovery rate, the number of cases witnessed a sudden surge after the repatriation of NRKs began.
The state could effectively manage the virus spread and since the first week of April, the rise in number of new cases has almost stabilised.
But the situation suddenly changed after the arrival of special flights carrying NRKs from abroad and the opening of state borders.
On May 8, only one new case was reported and the number of active cases was just 16. But the number jumped to 10 on May 13 and 26 on May 14, the highest number since March end. On May 18, the number further increased to 29. Most of the infected persons are returnees from abroad or other states.
Currently, there are 160 active cases in the state, which is a ten-fold increase from the May 8 figure of 16.