We are now facing a highly contagious delta variant of Covid-19, warned Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday, saying that the coronavirus cases in the state have decreased by 42% but asked the people to continue exercising caution.

Speaking to reporters after the daily Covid-19 evaluation meet, CM Vijayan said that the third wave can be prevented “if we all are vigilant as a community”.

“We should continue to exercise caution as during the lockdown phase. Strict precautions should be taken as we are now facing a highly contagious delta variant of the virus. There is also a possibility that the third wave may be due to the emergence of the Covid-19 virus, which is more genetically modified than the delta virus,” the Kerala CM said.

CM Vijayan said the state government is making the necessary preparations to deal with any situation. He also said there was a 15% decline in the test positivity rate as compared to last week and that the average test positivity rate (TPR) for the last three days is 11.5%.

“Malappuram district has the highest TPR of 13.8% while Kottayam district has the lowest at 8.8%. Alappuzha, Kannur and Kozhikode districts have a TPR less than 10% and in the remaining 10 districts, it ranges from 10 to 13.80%,” he said.

“We will speed up the vaccination as per the availability of the vaccine. At the same time, we must be careful to avoid congestion at vaccine centres. They should not become centres of disease transmission. The authorities and the people must act responsibly in this regard,” he said.

Vijayan said so far 73 cases of black fungus were reported in the State and 50 of them are still under treatment while eight were cured and 15 have lost their lives.

“The government hospitals currently have 3,040 ICU beds. Of these, 1,137 beds are being used for the treatment of COVID-19 patients and 736 beds for non-COVID patients. About 61.6 per cent of the ICU beds in government hospitals are now occupied. Of the 7,468 ICU beds in private hospitals, 1,091 are used to treat COVID-19 patients,” he said.

Vijayan said paediatric intensive care facilities are being strengthened to ensure expert treatment of children in the event of a third wave.

Meanwhile, Kerala on Friday reported 11,361 new coronavirus cases and 90 more deaths, taking the caseload to 27,85,304 and the death toll to 11,833.

A total of 12,147 persons recuperated from the disease, taking the number of those cured to 26,65,354.

At present, there are 1,07,682 persons under treatment, and 4,69,522 under observation of which 27,905 are in isolation wards of various hospitals. State Health Minister Veena George said 1,11,124 samples were tested in the last 24 hours and the test positivity rate (TPR) was 10.22%.

As many as 2,17,32,157 samples have been tested so far.

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