Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday said Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan's recent comments on surging coronavirus cases in Kerala should not be taken as a criticism of the state government's COVID-19 management but as a larger message for the other states.
The state witnessed a spurt in infections after the Onam festival. To which, Vardhan had commented that the state was 'paying the price for gross negligence' during festivities, unlocking services along with an increase in travel for trade and tourism.
"Kerala paid the price of gross negligence during Onam festivities as the recent spike in COVID-19 cases were seen in the state. Noting that between January 30 and May 3, Kerala had reported just 499 cases and two deaths due to COVID-19. Epicurve of Kerala changed completely due to Onam, festivities across the State, the daily new cases nearly doubled," the minister had said.
He also cautioned people to be vigilant of the coronavirus guidelines and avoid being negligent.
He stated that strict measures were enforced during and after the festival. However, Vijayan blamed an 'irresponsible opposition' for the rising cases. "Our COVID preventive measures were a success but the massive protests across the state by an irresponsible opposition derailed the efforts of the government," The Indian Express quoted Vijayan as saying.
Vijayan told the media that Vardhan has lauded the state for its great efforts in containing the virus spread in the state and had equally raised his concern over the spurt in cases after Onam, and it must be taken as constructive criticism.
Vijayan also stated that the state's vigilance in view of containing the spread of the virus was fairly evident from the fact that Kerala was the first state to im[plement the state-wise lockdown and enforced a proper scientific approach that helped in containing the number fatalities due to the novel coronavirus. In addition, the state also paid attention to strengthening the medial and health infrastructure.
"This is the reason why our health sector has got several accolades at an international level," Vijayan added.