Kerala continues to report the highest number of COVID-19 cases in India as the country sees a marginal uptick in infection numbers over the last one week. India reported 45,083 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, of which, 31,265 cases were reported in Kerala, according latest reported numbers. The southern state has been reporting nearly 60% of the country’s COVID-19 cases over the last week.

In a bid to contain infections, Kerala has decided to implement night curfew from 10 pm to 6 am. Further, in areas where infection population ratio is above 7%, the government has decided to impose a lockdown.

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Thursday that despite rise in caseload, Kerala’s Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) remains below the national average. Responding to charge of mismanagement by the opposition, Vijayan said that no one in Kerala had died due to lack of oxygen facility and no patient had to scramble to get a hospital bed.

“No one had to queue in front of crematoriums with the body of their dear ones. People here did not face any situation to dump the bodies in rivers. Whatever they say, the people have seen the reality…that cannot be erased. It was because we the people fought together,” the chief minister said.

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Explaining the government’s plan of action amid the rise in COVID cases, Vijayan said that the prime objective was to save lives of maximum number of people. “During a pandemic, the plan is always to save maximum lives. Kerala has a high density of population, high number of people with lifestyle diseases, high number of aged population and other factors that may result in high fatality rate. But reports show the CFR here is 0.51 per cent, whereas the national average is 1.34 per cent," Vijayan said.

The chief minister said that over 50% of the state’s population has received the first dose of the vaccine while nearly 21% have received both doses. Experts say that higher transmission of the Delta variant and a low prevalence of antibodies has led to the current increase in COVID-19 cases in the state which was hailed initially for its handling of the pandemic.