The “carelessness” of the Kerala government, which is more focused on celebrating the anniversary of the Moplah riots, was the reason for the steep rise in COVID-19 cases and test positivity rate (TPR) in the state, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan said on Thursday.
The southern state had on Wednesday logged 31,445 fresh coronavirus infections; the toll mounted to 19,972 with 215 new deaths and the TPR rose to 19.03 per cent.
Kerala had reported more than 30,000 cases after a gap of three months. The last time it had crossed this mark was on May 20, in the midst of the second wave, when it recorded 30,491 cases.
Addressing the media in New Delhi, the minister said the high number of fresh cases, rising TPR, which was close to 20 per cent and the number of fatalities in Kerala, together indicate that the state was going through a very bad phase of the pandemic.
“Carelessness of the state government was the reason for this,” he said and added that the Left government was “more focused on celebrating the anniversary of the Moplah riots”.
“That is not the priority. Dealing with COVID-19 should be the priority,” he said.
A similar view was also expressed by Congress MLA Ramesh Chennithala, who said the state government has failed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state and demanded that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan apologise to the people.
He also said that the “carelessness” of the state was the reason behind the rise in COVID-19 cases in Kerala.
The Congress MLA said that currently the state was accounting for around 70 per cent of the daily national total of fresh infections.
At his press meet in New Delhi, Muraleedharan said even the central team which visited the southern state recently has pointed out shortcomings in the COVID prevention measures in Kerala.
He alleged the Kerala government’s home quarantine policy has failed to curb the spread of the virus and as a result, the hospital infrastructure was being burdened and normal beds were slowly running out.
He further said that the chief minister, who earlier used to regularly hold COVID press meets in the evening, was no longer doing so and he was “nowhere to be seen”.
He said that the state’s claims of shortage of vaccines in the past have all been lies and its vaccination measures have also been found wanting as only 84 per cent of its health workers have received both doses of the vaccine till date, when other states have achieved better results.
Muraleedharan questioned whether the state had any data with regard to the expected increase in COVID-19 cases and TPR due to the relaxations granted during the recent Onam celebrations, when crowds were seen in marketplaces across Kerala.
He said that the state needs to take stringent steps to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in Kerala.
After the Onam festivities, medical experts had predicted that the TPR would go beyond 20 per cent and the number of infections would rise further.
Since July 27, after the Bakrid celebrations, when restrictions were relaxed for a few days, Kerala has been logging more than or close to 20,000 cases almost every day.