Kerala sees highest one-day surge of about 27 k cases; Govt to hold talks with vaccine makers

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(Eds: Combines related stories, Adds inputs) Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 22 (PTI) With Kerala's COVID-19 graph witnessing the highest single day surge of nearly 27,000 cases on Thursday, the state government has decided to hold discussions with the manufacturers to procure vaccines.

'We have sought more vaccines from the Centre and expect a reply soon. But we are not planning to wait for the allotment.

The state government is holding discussions with the vaccine manufacturers and steps will be taken to place orders after a discussion between the Chief Secretary and the Finance and Health secretaries,' Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters here.

The state saw the highest single day spike so far with 26,995 cases, pushing the total infection count to 13.22 lakh.

Over 1.56 lakh are undergoing treatment for the illness, which has claimed 5,028 lives with today's 28 additional deaths.

At least 6,370 people have been cured, taking the total recoveries to11, 60,42.

Concerned over the rising cases, the government has decided to call an online all-party-meeting on April 26.

In a press meet held after the COVID evaluation meet, Vijayan said there are complaints on the rates charged by private hospitals for treatment.

Some are charging between Rs 2,300 to Rs 20,000 per day.

District authorities will look into the matter, he said adding some are exploiting the pandemic situation and overcharging the patients.

The treatment rates should be reasonable. A meeting with the private hospital will be held on Saturday, Vijayan added.

Pointing out that vaccination centres were witnessing heavy crowds, Vijayan urged the people not to gather unnecessarily as only those who have registered online can take the jab from the vaccination centres.

Referring to the Centre's announcement that people falling in the age group of 18-45 will be administered vaccines from May 1, he said a proper guideline will be issued with regard to the steps for vaccinating the 1.65 crore people, in that age bracket, in a two or three phase drive.

Most of the Keralites have received Covishield vaccine and its second dose can be delayed up to 12 weeks. Those who have received the first dose need not to hurry to the vaccination centres, he said.

'Those who have taken the vaccine should also remain careful as they can be carriers. We all need to strictly follow the COVID health protocol,' he said.

Meanwhile, as many as 28,606 cases were registered in the state on Thursday for not wearing masks and most of them were reported from the Kollam district--4,896.

'9,782 cases were registered for not maintaining social distancing. Those who venture out of their homes should use the mask properly. Those who travel in the car should also wear the masks, even if they are alone. Police will take strong action against the violators,' he said.

On Thursday, 1,35,177 samples were tested and the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) was 19.97 per cent. PTI RRT UD ROH ROH