Nation Current Affairs 12 Jun 2020 Kerala ups COVID-19 ...

Kerala ups COVID-19 testing as more expats return home

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SMITHA N
Published Jun 12, 2020, 3:05 pm IST
Updated Jun 12, 2020, 3:05 pm IST
Antibody test begins to check for community spread
Passengers arrive from Jeddah via Air India flight at Kochi International Airport, as part of an evacuation operation due to closure of commercial air services amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, in Kochi. PTI photo
 Passengers arrive from Jeddah via Air India flight at Kochi International Airport, as part of an evacuation operation due to closure of commercial air services amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, in Kochi. PTI photo

Kochi: The Kerala government has increased the number of tests for coronavirus infection as the number of expatriates returning to the state is on sharp rise along with the number of imported COVID-19 cases. The rapid antibody test to check for community transmission has started on Monday. The antibody test is being conducted among vulnerable groups like health workers, police personnel, media reporters, government employees, truck drivers and other high-risk sections with high social exposure.

On an average more than 3000 samples are being sent to testing per day. Till June 11, a total of 1,03757 samples had been sent for testing out of which results of 2873 are pending. In addition to this, 27118 samples were taken from priority groups as part of sentinel surveillance of which 25757 samples tested negative.

 

The number of positive cases through contact and patients with unknown source of infection are also on the rise. A total of 101 persons got virus infection through contact in last 11 days. However, as per the government data, the rate of infection though is only 15 per cent now which was 30 per cent earlier.

Many positive cases have been reported in antibody testing which will have to be confirmed through PCR (polymer chain reaction) test. The state government decided to conduct rapid anti body test to check for community transmission as the number of cases rapidly escalating. With easing of lockdown restrictions and high number of expatriates coming back from other countries and states, Kerala is reporting high number of imported cases.

 

Chief Minister while talking to media persons earlier said that the plan is to conduct 15,000 antibody tests per week among vulnerable groups. Initially, 10,000 testing kits have been distributed to Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kannur and Kasargod while 5000 kits were given to other districts.

Though the state government had tried to conduct antibody testing earlier during the initial phase of the pandemic, the plan could not be executed due to non availability of reliable testing kits.

The state reported 19 deaths due to virus infection so far. As many as 2244 COVID-19 cases reported in Kerala and the number of active cases is 1258.

 

More than one lakh expats to return soon

As per the state health department’s assessment, the number of active cases will increase rapidly as big number of non resident Keralites are expected to arrive from different parts of the globe. More than 1.25 lakh NRKs are expected to land in the state next couple of weeks. More than 400 special flights under Vande Bharat Mission will be operated from various countries, according to reports by regional media. Most of the returnees will be women, children and elderly.

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