Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Friday said that the state expects to complete the first dose of vaccination for all aged 18 and above by September 30.

With Kerala now becoming ‘Covid’s Own Country’, leading the country in all major indicators like daily cases, total active cases, and also in number of deaths, the Kerala government has gone on high alert and she said even though the mantra is testing, tracing and treatment, at the moment, vaccination is also of prime concern.

“By now, 70 per cent of the population have received the first dose of vaccine, while 25 per cent have got both the doses. Our target now is to see that the every person above age 18 gets their first dose of vaccine by September 30. We are now waiting for 1.11 crore doses to come,” George said.

She pointed out that Kerala has the maximum reporting of cases and the undercounting index is 6:1 in the state, against 33:1 nationwide.

“In Kerala, we had the second wave which began in April and on May 12, we had the highest number of new cases which was 43,529 and the test positivity rate was 29.76 per cent. From that we brought it down to as low as 10 per cent and now it has again gone up again. If we look at the scenario during Onam 2020, the state had 1,563 cases which went up three times in September and seven times in October,” George said.

“We will have to continue to be cautious and we will have to be careful that we don’t bring in more cases by violating the protocols, as we have a huge under 18 age population and for them till now, there is no vaccination.”

Meanwhile, with Covid spread raging and the state government facing flak from various quarters, it has been decided that every Sunday will see a strict lockdown.

The previous two Sundays — August 15 being Independence Day and August 22 – main Onam — saw no restrictions and with cases now peaking, the government on Friday announced that from now on until further notice, Sundays will be locked for all regular activities and only shops selling essential items can open.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who has been criticised for “disappearing from the scene” and not addressing the media for the past more than a month, is still to emerge and while many expected that he might make an appearance on Friday, it has not taken place.

–IANS

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