COVID-19 cases likely to rise further in Kerala, virus yet to

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peak, says CM (recasts, adds details) Thiruvananthapuram, May 4 (PTI): As Kerala's per day COVID-19 surgecrossed over 37,000 on Tuesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the virus would take some more days to peak in the second wave of the infection and cases could soar further.

The state should expect an increased spread of the diseasedue to the high Test Positivity Rate (TPR), which was 26.08 per cent today, Vijayan told reporters here.

'The TPR is still high, indicating that it will take some more time for the disease to reach its peak in Kerala.This needs to be reduced significantly,' he said.

Kerala logged 37,190 fresh cases today, 118 of them health workers and 26,148 people have been cured.The total caseload has mounted to over 17 lakh, recoveriesto 13.39 lakh and the active cases touched 3,56,872.

Fifty-seven recent deaths were confirmed due to Covid and the toll has climbed to 5,507.

In the last 24 hours, 1,42,588 samples had been tested.

According to Vijayan, the state currently has a stock of 2.4 lakh vaccine doses which will only last a maximum of two days.

'Four lakh doses of Covishield and 75,000 doses of Covaxin are expected to arrive today.As of May 3, we have a stock of 270.2 MT of liquid oxygen and 8.97 MT of medical oxygen cylinders. We currently need 108.35 MT of oxygen per day and steps are being taken to ensure oxygen availability.' Though the state had so far received 73,38,860 doses of vaccine from the centre, it could vaccinatemore people as from each vial vaccines were used carefully.

'Each Covid vaccine vial contains up to ten doses and one additional dose to factor in wastage.We received 73,38,860 doses from the Central Government and we could use it for 74,26,164 doses,' he said.

'We were able to give the extra dose as well.These figures show that we have already provided more than what the central government had given. We were able to deliver the vaccine with such care, thanks to the ingenuity of the healthcare workers, especially nurses.' The CM also complimented the healthcare workers for the achievement during this crisis.

Kerala was one among the few states that reported zero Covid vaccine wastage.

The problem the state was now facing was non-availability of vaccines.The Centre should either be prepared to give free vaccines to those over 45 years of age or ensure adequate supply of vaccines to enable the states to procure them, the chief minister said.

Kerala has written to the Union government several times to solve the vaccine shortage, Vijayan said.

A study conducted by the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital has pointed that 56 per cent of people were getting infected from their homes.

The government has also issued 'showcause notices' to private hospitals that have still not set apart 50 per cent of the beds for treatment of Covid patients.

Kerala has gone for stringent restrictions from today to May 9 in addition to the weekend lockdown,he said.

The extension of the restrictions and imposition of full lockdown will be decided after a review at the end of this week,Vijayan said. PTI UD BN BALA BN BALA