Last year, Kerala was the cynosure of all eyes when the then State Health Minister KK Shailaja had dozens of journalists from international media waiting for hours and days to speak to her on how the Kerala model of tackling Covid was being done, when even the Western world looked towards God's own country.
But, gone are those days and the situation has come to such an extent that today if a Keralite has to cross the border of the state, for easy and smooth passage, one will have to be armed with a Covid vaccine jab certificate or any one of the mandatory Covid test results.
On Wednesday the latest news is that if implemented by neighbouring Karnataka state, all those coming from Kerala will have to undergo a seven-day quarantine after entering their state.
And ever since last month, none has a clue on why the Covid spread in Kerala. On Wednesday in Kerala the Covid figure was 65 per cent of the total daily cases in the country. The state also has the maximum number of daily active cases and deaths.
The daily new Covid cases in Kerala on Wednesday reached a recent high when 31,445 people turned positive after 1,65,273 samples were tested taking the test positivity rate to 19.03 per cent, while there were 1,70,292 active cases and 215 Covid deaths.
The much hyped 'Kerala Model' is now being joked about and numerous trolls have surfaced and one troll was, "waiting for UN to invite Kerala Health Minister Veena George to tell the world how they are taking the load of 80 per cent of Covid cases, so that the rest of the country does not suffer."
The situation is such that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan whose much viewed daily Covid press briefings till things went out of order, is now rarely seen in public.
Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan has been attacking Vijayan. "For any analysis to be done, proper data has to be given and today the situation is that no data of Covid is available in Kerala. We demand that the present expert committee, which is taking care of the Covid affairs, be reconstituted as it has failed miserably. Does anyone know that the minutes of the expert committee from July this year are not been released. Data regarding Covid is being kept under the carpet. The present strategy in testing has to change as today antigen testing constitutes 70 per cent, while in Tamil Nadu and many other states they do only RT-PCR tests, which is more accurate. Vijayan has to break his silence," said Satheesan.
With Shailaja not included in the cabinet, the plum health portfolio was given to journalist turned two-time young legislator Veena George, who was often seen giving bytes to TV channels, now appears to have withdrawn, as the Covid numbers rise.
A media critic on condition of anonymity pointed out that had the Congress-led UDF won the April 6th Assembly elections and formed the new government, then all hell would have broken loose, with the Left leaders glorifying on how effectively they had managed Covid in the last year.
"In Kerala the biggest bane is that everything is seen through a political lens and what matters here is not what is being done, but who is doing it. Figures don't lie and all are waiting to get an answer on what's happening in Kerala as compared to other states," said the critic.