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Kerala to re-impose cap on gatherings as Covid cases rise

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The rising number of Covid cases in the state has prompted the Kerala Government to re-impose a cap on gatherings, including weddings and funerals. The number of persons who can attend such functions has been fixed at a maximum of 50.

However, the authorities have clarified that there was no plan to re-impose weekend or night curfew. Schools and other educational institutions will continue to function in the offline mode until further orders. The government also decided to encourage work-from-home in offices wherever possible.

A decision in this regard was taken at a review meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, on Monday. The situation will be monitored and further decisions will be taken in the next review meeting, the officials said.

Kerala reported 6,238 new Covid cases as on Sunday and medical experts attributed the spike to Christmas and New Year celebrations. The active pool of cases have risen to 34,902, but only 6.4 per cent are currently admitted in hospitals. ICU occupancy of Covid patients has also shown a nominal increase.

Meanwhile, Purushothaman, the former director of Paediatrics, Government Medical College Thrissur, said the experience of the last 45 days suggests that Omicron cases are likely to be mild. But it would invariably spread. The novel coronavirus affects the lungs and many other systems, leading to hospitalisation and the need for ICU beds with medical oxygen. But, the Omicron infection affects the upper airway, infecting the nose and larynx. The lung is spared, which could keep a check on the need for medical oxygen, he said.

“However, there is a need to take precautions as there can be problems in highly susceptible cases like the aged population, people with diabetes and hypertension, obesity, etc.

“Seroprevalence in India, either by vaccination or through immunity in the society, is comparatively high. We have developed hybrid immunity which is better compared to vaccine induced immunity”, he added.

For instance, he said, in Israel the population acquired immunity by vaccines alone. But the waning of antibody levels had forced them to administer third and fourth doses. But in India, the virus had directly caused infection, before substantial levels of vaccination coverage was achieved.



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