Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday attributed to the worsening Covid-19 situation in Kerala to the state government's "gross negligence" during the recent Onam festivities
"The state is paying the price of its gross negligence. There were huge congregations during Onam and adequate safety measures were not taken.
"Epi(demic) curve of Kerala changed completely due to Onam festivities across the state... the daily new cases nearly doubled," he said in "Sunday Samvaad", his Sunday webinar for his social media followers.
With Kerala witnessing a massive spike in COVID cases since September, he criticized the Kerala government for allowing travel and outdoor public activity during the festival season.
"Initially Kerala reported only 499 cases and two deaths between January 30th and May 3rd. However the increase in both inter and intra state movement of people due to trade and tourism cropped up the COVID cases in several districts of Kerala. This changed Kerala's epicurve completely," said Dr Vardhan during his weekly social media interaction.
The criticism was in response to a Twitter user's question regarding how the Kerala model on controlling COVID went wrong and what lessons can other states learn from it.
The Union Health Minister also said that other states ought to learn a lesson from Kerala's surge in COVID cases due to negligence during Onam festival.
He also advised the states to diligently follow "COVID appropriate behaviour" during upcoming festivities.
However several hours after his remark, Kerala Health Minister, K.K Shailaja came forward and clarified that Dr Harsh Vardhan did not criticize Kerala's COVID prevention activities.
"The Union Health Minister was advising other states to be vigilant during festivities as large gatherings will increase the risk of COVID transmission," the minister added.
As per the data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the load of active Covid-19 cases in Kerala has brought into the list of six worst-affected states in the country. Kerala's TPR is highest at 17.31 per cent against the national average of 8 per cent.