With Kerala witnessing a spike in coronavirus infections recently, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said the state was paying the “price for gross negligence” during Onam festivities when unlocking of services along with an increase in travel for trade and tourism led to the spread of COVID-19. The Minister said this ought to serve as a good lesson for all the State governments that were being negligent in planning for the festival season. Kerala’s COVID-19 tally has crossed 3.3 lakh while the toll climbed to 1,139 on Saturday. Prior to Onam (August 22), the State had reported around 54,000 cases, while the death toll was nearly 200.
During an interaction with his social media followers on the sixth episode ‘Sunday Samvaad’, Dr. Vardhan reiterated his request to everyone to celebrate festivals at home with their loved ones in the traditional way to ward off the risk of COVID-19 infection.This festive season, charity must take precedence over celebrations.“My own celebrations too shall remain subdued due to the heart-rending impact of COVID-19 on lakhs of corona warriors across the world battling for us,” the Minister stated.He also assured that there is no shortage of medical oxygen in the country and that the government is ready to scale up the production capacity to meet any further increase in demand arising due to the pandemic.
Responding to a question on Kerala recently reporting a spike in COVID-19 cases, Dr. Vardhan said that between January 30 and May 3, the state had reported just 499 cases and two deaths due to the disease.He regretted that “Kerala was paying the price of gross negligence” during the recent Onam festivities when state-wise unlocking of services, along with an increase in inter and intrastate travel for trade and tourism led to the spread of COVID-19 across various districts.The epi curve of Kerala changed completely due to Onam festivities across the state. The daily new cases nearly doubled,” Dr. Vardhan said. Answering a question on the discrepancy in the number of Covid-19 deaths across India, Dr Harsh Vardhan shared that the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has taken up the issue of correct certification of Covid-19 deaths with all states and UTs on multiple instances and has also shared a proper modality of reporting of deaths with them to ensure consistency in reporting of Covid-19 related deaths across India.The Minister assured that there is no shortage in medical oxygen and that the current oxygen production capacity of India is around 6400 MT/day. The Government is ready to scale up the production capacity in order to meet any further increase in demand arising due to the pandemic, he assured.