Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday warned of a spurt in coronavirus cases in the state as the Onam festivities came to an end, reported The New Indian Express. He said this could be because of the increased contact among people during the festive days.

“The next two weeks are crucial as we may see Onam clusters being formed in the state due to increased outdoor public activity and travel during the festival time,” said Vijayan. “We can expect a hike in Covid-19 cases.”

He said markets and public spaces were bustling with people in the run up to Onam. “Besides, people from other places/states came to their native places to celebrate Onam,” added the chief minister. “All these might result in an increase in cases. But to confirm the same, we might have to wait for at least 14 days.” said the chief minister.

The state’s Test Positivity Rate, or TPR, is over eight, according to the chief minister. This is the first time, Kerala has crossed the country’s TPR which stood at 7.7 on Wednesday. The TPR refers to the number of positive cases per hundred tests. It helps in assessing the spread of an outbreak.

“The reason for the spike in Test Positivity Rate is because people were reluctant to do tests during Onam,” a state government official told NDTV. “Tests dropped during the festival season, to even 18,000. They have now been revived to 30,000 and will be hiked to 50,000. Our aim is to bring the Test Positivity Rate below 5 at this point.”

Till Friday morning, Kerala recorded a total of 79,625 cases including 315 deaths. The active cases in the state is 21,582.

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