national average, says CM (Eds: adding details) Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 6 (PTI): Kerala's COVID-19 count is inching towards the 2.50 lakh mark as 7,871 new cases were added on Tuesday, while the toll climbed to 884 with 25 more fatalities as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan cautioned that the number of deaths could rise in the coming days.
With 4,981 people testing negative today, recoveries have touched 1,54,092 so far and active cases stand at 87,738.
As many as 6910 were infected through contact, Vijayan told reporters here.
The total infection count climbed to 2,40,799.
However, there was some relief as positive cases saw a decline today after 60,490 samples were tested in the last 24 hours.
On Monday, 5,042 cases were detected after 38,696 samples were tested.
Vijayan said in the light of the severe spread of the virus , schools are not likely to open at this juncture.
'We want schools to reopen. But at present due to the spread of the virus, it would be difficult', he said.
Vijayan said more than five people should not travel in vehicles and people should not come out of their homes unless it was extremely necessary.
Thiruvananthapuram recorded the highest number of cases --989, followed by Malappuram 854, Kollam 845 and Ernakulam 837.
In the last 24 hours, 60,490 samples were tested and 111 health workers were infected through contact.
The Chief Minister had said earlier that death rates could rise and the state cannot be negligent in adhering to the stringent Covid protocols. Kerala now reports 24.5 deaths for every 10 lakh people compared to 99 for every 10 lakh in the rest of the country.
The case fatality rate in the state is 0.36 per cent while it is 1.55 per cent nationwide.
While the test positivity rate at the national level was 8.33 per cent, in Kerala it was 7.2 per cent, he said.
Though the disease was first reported in Kerala in the country, the state was able to contain its spread on a large scale, thanks to the caution exercised by both the government and the people, Vijayan said.
The Chief Minister said that despite the increase in cases in the last few days, Kerala was in a better position compared to the national average.
The fatality rate was only 0.36 per cent compared to the national average of 1.55 per cent.
The test positivity rate was 7.2 per cent as against 8.3 per cent nationally, he said.
'So if we look at the figures, we can see that the vigilance and steps taken so far have not been in vain.
Therefore, they must be taken forward more vigorously', the chief minister said.
Pointing that the number of patients were increasing on a daily basis due to carelessness, he said the government was expediting the process of identifying and isolating possible patients in all districts as much as possible.
The government also proposed to tighten the Covid restrictions in markets and public places.
RT-PCR test would be conducted even if the Antigen test was negative in suspected cases, he said, adding that the effort would be to keep the test positivity rate below 10.
A sero-survey by ICMR in August to find out the percentage of people in the community who have contracted the disease, found the virus to be present in 0.8 per cent of the population in Kerala, compared the national figure of 6.6.
The Chief Minister noted that Kerala has a population density almost double the national average, the highest proportion of the elderly population and also the highest number of expatriates.
Kerala is also the state with the lowest urban-rural divide.
All these are favourable factors for the spread of Covid.
'Yet this study has shown that we have been able to keep the spread of the disease at a significantly lower rate than the national average', Vijayan noted.
Forty three cases were registered and 126 people arrested were arrested today for violating prohibitory orders .
Cases were registered against 2,070 people and 800 arrested today violating covid protocols, a police press release said. PTI UD APR RAVINDRANATH APR RAVINDRANATH