Districts split into categories, revised COVID-19 death tolls and dashed hopes of hotel business’ recovery.
By Shweta Dabholkar
A, B, C of COVID
As cases remain high, the Kerala government has imposed fresh curbs to check the spread of COVID-19. From today, districts will be categorised under A, B and C, based on infections and hospitalisations, said a release from the CMO’s office. In A category districts, up to 50 people will be allowed to attend social, religious and political events, but all gatherings will be banned for B and C.
Capital is sole district in C category
State capital Thiruvananthapuram is the only district in the third category. All classes (including tuition centres but excluding undergraduate and postgraduate final year classes, and 10 and 12 classes) will be online in C category districts. Movie theatres, swimming pools and gyms will remain shut. A maximum of 20 people will be allowed at weddings and funerals but mall and liquor outlets will remain open.
Daily numbers dip but remain high, vaccinations on
Kerala recorded 26,514 fresh COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total caseload to 56,46,665. On Saturday and Sunday, the state recorded 45,136 infections and 5,449 cases. It also recorded the highest single-day spike since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 on January 20, registering 46,387 cases.
Meanwhile, 83 per cent of the people in the state have been fully vaccinated while 66 per cent of teenagers from ages 15 to 18 received their first shot. In the first curfew of the third wave, there was a complete lockdown on Sunday.
Two lakh cases in past five days
The state health department said that in the past five days, 2,60,271 active cases have been reported, of which only 3.8 per cent are admitted to hospitals. Last week, the daily test positivity rate skyrocketed to reach an all-time high of 47.7 per cent.
… but full occupancy reports denied
Health minister Veena George has denied media reports of ICUs and ventilators in Kerala being fully occupied and visited Thiruvananthapuram Medical College to assess the situation. The minister said that there were 206 beds available; 40 beds were set aside specifically for COVID-19 patients. In case of a sudden patient increase, more beds, ICUs and ventilators will be made functional, she added.
Revised official death tolls
In the last 28 days, Kerala has reported more COVID-19 deaths (5,421) than any province in the world, due to its revised official death toll. Since late October, Kerala added 16,958 backlog deaths based on the COVID-19 compensation claims of families who lost loved ones. Still, at an overall Covid-19 mortality rate of 0.92%, the state is performing better than the national average of 1.38%.
Reviving hotels and resorts sunk by third wave
After a dull new year’s eve followed by the spread of the omicron variant, the third COVID-19 wave has all but destroyed Kerala’s once-booming hotel and resort business. Post the first and second waves, there were some signs of recovery. Now occupancy has plummeted to five per cent, with only one or two rooms booked on a property.