The Union health ministry on Monday directed Kerala to provide daily updates on Covid-19 cases and deaths as the state reported figures after a gap of five days, ANI reported.

In a letter sent to Kerala’s principal health secretary, the ministry said that the delay has “skewed the status of India’s key monitoring indicators like cases, deaths and positivity”.

“It has been observed that Kerala has reported its state-level Covid-19 data after a gap of five days [since April 13],” Lav Agarwal, joint secretary at the health ministry, wrote in the letter. “India has reported a 90% increase in new cases and 165% increase in positivity in a single day [on Monday],” Agarwal said.

According to the health ministry data released on Monday morning, Kerala reported 213 deaths due to Covid-19 in the last 24 hours.

Of these, only one Covid-19 patient died on Sunday, while 62 casualties were added to the toll after receiving appeals based on the Supreme Court’s updated guidelines on designating coronavirus deaths, PTI reported. The remaining 150 deaths were reported between April 13 and April 16, but were added to the tally only on Monday.

The health ministry told Kerala that daily and diligent reporting of data was critical “to arrive at a meaningful understanding of the pandemic situation”.

“It will help not only in tracking and monitoring but also in defining the strategies and plans at the Centre, state and district levels,” the letter stated.

The ministry added that it has regularly emphasised on the need for a robust reporting mechanism of state-wise cases and deaths on a daily basis.

“This is especially relevant as it is a highly infectious disease and also has an associated risk of emergence of new variants,” Agarwal wrote.