The Kerala government on Saturday, July 17, said that negative RT-PCR tests were no longer mandatory for persons who have received both doses of any COVID-19 vaccine. The decision was taken by the State Disaster Management Authority as the COVID-19 vaccination was "progressing well," a release said. The government further said that anyone attending activities for which a negative RT-PCR result is required, like inter-state travel or if a person is travelling to Kerala to appear for an examination, they should carry the certificate showing they have received two doses of vaccine.
"However, those who have developed symptoms of COVID-19 shall undergo RT-PCR test and should carry the negative result," the release said.
On Saturday, COVID-19 cases in Kerala crossed the 15,000-mark. As many as 16,148 people were confirmed to have COVID-19, out of the 1,50,108 samples that were tested. This meant that the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) which has been stagnant at around 10 for weeks, remained 10.76 on Saturday.
The highest cases were recorded in Kozhikode district with 2,105 new patients and the lowest in Idukki with 310 patients. Eight districts including Thiruvanthapuram and Ernakulam have over a thousand cases each. The death toll increased by 114 to 15,269 in total.
In what came as a relief to the state, a good number of recoveries are also being recorded every day. On Saturday, 13,197 people were reported to have recovered from the disease. The total number of active cases in the state is now 1,24,779.
Kerala's caseload has been consistently high, recording between 10,000 to 15,000 numbers every day, even as the cases have come down in the rest of the country.
The government has been imposing restrictions and weekend lockdowns to control the spread and bring down the cases. However, this strategy, now in place for weeks, has not resulted in reducing the caseload so far. On Saturday, the government announced various relaxations in the restrictions after repeated pleas from various groups of workers and traders whose livelihood has been affected by the continuing lockdowns.
(With PTI inputs)