ERNAKULAM: Kerala confirmed 42 fresh covid-19 cases on Friday, its biggest single-day spike yet, signalling acceleration in the pandemic once again in one of the few states which had managed to flatten the curve.
The state expects the rise in cases to continue as it prepares to welcome more passengers following the gradual resumption of air and train services from next week.
Kerala has 732 total recorded cases, including Friday's figures, and 216 active patients. So far, 512 people have recovered in Kerala, including two new recoveries on Friday. The state reported its fifth death from the virus on Thursday night. The 73-year old deceased had returned from Mumbai recently and was fighting comorbidities like diabetes and hypertension.
"The spike is a serious warning. It shows our preparedness has to be accelerated in a major way," chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters. "A lot of people are going to arrive in the coming days. We will not shut our doors on those who are returning. We are also not ready to plead helplessness. We will follow up each case with the needed observation and treatment and care," he said.
The number of people under observation in the state has also increased significantly over the last two weeks. A total of 162 were hospitalised in the last 24 hours. The state has tested 51,310 samples so far, and 49,535 were negative, Vijayan said.
As part of sentinel surveillance of high-risk category, consisting of healthcare workers, migrant labourers and those with higher public contacts, 7,072 samples were collected so far and 6,630 of them were negative, he said. The rest of the results are awaited.
There are 28 hotspots in the state, Vijayan added. A total of 91,344 people have returned to the state recently-- 82,299 from other states and the rest from other countries.
A sliver of relief for the state is that majority of the spike in recent days is a result of imported cases. Of the fresh cases on Friday, 21 are returnees from Maharashtra, one each returned from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and 17 other returned from overseas. As a result, the state has not announced any major rollback on the relaxations provided during the lockdown, like intra-district public transport and allowing all shops to open. However, Vijayan said "the relaxations are provided to continue with life, not to celebrate".