Almost 1 yr after reporting country's first Covid case, Kerala

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logs in 6,268 positive cases (Eds: adds details, minor edits) Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 29 (PTI) Almost a year since the country's first COVID-19 case was reported from Kerala, the state on Friday logged 6,268 infections on Friday, with 72,239 active cases, the highest in the country.

It was on January 30, 2020 that a medical student, who returned to Thrissur from the Chinese province of Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, tested positive.

With the fresh infections on Friday, the state's total Covid caseload has risen to 9,17,630 while 6,398 recoveries took the total number of those discharged to 8,41,444,the state government said.

The virus has so far claimed 3704 lives in the state with 22 recent deaths being added to the toll on Friday.

According to government sources, the death rate is comparatively less in the state, compared to its neighbours.

The state now has72,239 active cases and 2,15,650 people are under observation in various districts, including11,752 in hospitals.

Ernakulam district has the highest number of people undergoing treatment -- 11,024, followed by Kozhikode 8,023, Health minister K K Shailaja said.

In the last 24 hours, 58,815 samples have been tested and the test positivity rate touched 10.66 per cent.

So far 95,18,036 samples have been sent for testing.

Since the beginning of this month, Kerala has been witnessing an alarming increase in the number of cases.

The state logged 35,296 cases between January 4 to 10, which rose to 36,700 within a week from January 11 and shot up to 42,430 in seven days from January 18.

With the rapid rise in cases, the state government has deployed25,000 police personnel to ensure that various protocols are strictly adhered to by the people, especially in crowded places like bus stands,hospitals and railway stations.

Soon after the medical student tested positive, the second and third cases in the country were reported on February 2 and 3, both of whom had also returned from Wuhan.

However when the three recovered and there was no spread, the state heaved a sigh of relief.

The second wave of infections hit Kerala on March 8 when a three-member family from Ranni in Pathanamthitta arrived from Italy and tested positive, along with two of their close relatives.

Subsequently, four more relatives, including Thomas (93) and Mariyamma (88),the parents of Moncy,who had returned along with his wife and son from Italy, also contracted the virus.

All of them were cured and discharged.

Thomas passed away recently.

The recovery of the elderly couple got globalapplause for the state with experts describing it as the 'rarest of rare' case as high mortality rate is generally seen in the elderly population globally due to the infection.

Kerala declared that it had flattened the curve on May8 after it reported a solitary case, with just 16 people under treatment, but by May 15, the total cases had jumped to 80.

As India began its biggest evacuation exercise to bring back its citizens stranded in gulf and other countries due to COVID-19 since May, the cases started rising.

The state government has also decided to ramp up daily testing to one lakh, with an aim to bring down the numbers by mid-February. PTI UD APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR