As per the latest Covid-19 cases reported by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, out of 2,92,518 active cases in India, Kerala has 60,670 active cases that is more than Maharashtra that has 60,593 active cases.
Kerala’s performance in managing the Covid-19 pandemic has been deteriorating from the last few months, and it is staying in the top five states to report maximum new cases of coronavirus. And now, it is number one state in maximum number of active cases.
According to the Kerala government’s Covid-19 dashboard, the state was doing well till the last week of July, after which the situation started to worsen. The first case in the state was reported in January 2020. By September 10, the graph became problematic for the state when it crossed the 100k mark. In October, the state was at third position in total number Covid-19 cases. It took Kerala six months to report 100,000 confirmed cases, but in less than three months since September 10, the state has recorded over 600,000 cases.
Once lauded for its Covid model, Kerala is struggling to control coronavirus
In the beginning, Kerala’s Covid-19 model was lauded across the country. Media houses praised the CPI(M)-led Kerala government in every possible way while ignoring notable work done by other states like Uttar Pradesh in containing the disease. Even World Health Organization published a report on Kerala’s Covid management in July. During that period, the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP-led Maharashtra government struggled to contain the disease, and Maharashtra is still in the top five states with the highest number of cases.
Kerala model and international media
‘Kerala model’ was lauded globally with international media hailing the state government for effectively arresting the coronavirus spread.
By April 2020, media reports were published asking the world to learn from Kerala model.
Al Jazeera also hailed Kerala model.
On May 14, 2020, British Daily newspaper The Guardian had hailed Kerala’s health Minister KK Shailaja as ‘rockstar’.
Shailaja KK even presented the ‘Kerala model’ at a UN meet in June this year.
In fact, in a bid to get praise from the hostile foreign media, Kerala Health Minister Shailaja KK even badmouthed about other Indian states to BBC. She claimed that Goa did not have any hospitals.
So what just happened there?
What went wrong in Kerala
Kerala has a large population of overseas Indians. The first case was reported in the state as early as January 30 and it crossed 7-lakh mark of reported cases on December 20. The state that has experience with epidemic outbreaks did well initially, and as the lockdown was in place in India, the administration managed to control the outbreak. However, as the relaxations kicked in and the people started to have a sense of safety, the precautionary measures were ignored. It resulted in a spike in the number of cases, and things began to move against the state. It has to be noted that when number of cases were increasing in Kerala in May, the CM had decided to ease restrictions around Eid.
In November when the state was among the highest contributors of new Covid cases, Kerala’s health minister KK Shailaja said that the demographic and epidemiological reasons were behind the new surge in cases. She added that the festivals and several political protests in recent times contributed to the spike in the confirmed cases. “The return of migrants from other parts of the state and abroad also had contributed to the situation,” she said.
Currently, Kerala and Maharashtra together count for 40% of the active cases compared to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar that counts only for 7% of the total active cases. It has to be noted that UP’s population alone surpasses Kerala’s and Maharashtra’s population put together.