New Delhi: The total number of cases of novel coronavirus in India on March 15, were recorded at 110, with Maharashtra reporting the most number of cases and Kerala was the close second. The number of cases reported by Kerala as on Monday morning (March 16) remains at 22. While the state was the first in the country to report three COVID-19 cases, all three of them have been confirmed as recovered by the government. With the aim to control the spread of the virus further, the Kerala government took several measures spearheaded by the state Health Minister KK Shailaja Teacher.
The @WHO has declared the COVID-19 epidemic, which has affected 110 countries, as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Taking account of the inflow of persons from affected countries, Kerala has strengthened surveillance and control measures.
— Shailaja Teacher (@shailajateacher) March 11, 2020
3313 persons are placed under surveillance, of which 3020 are under home isolation and 293 are admitted in designated isolation facilities. Till date 1179 samples of suspected cases have been sent for testing, out of which the results of 889 samples have been negative.
— Shailaja Teacher (@shailajateacher) March 11, 2020
Cabinet Decisions | Fighting #Covid19
➡️ State put under high alert
➡️ All public programs suspended till this 31st
➡️ Educational institutions of classes up to VII will remain closed
➡️ No change in exams for classes VIII to X
➡️ Awareness programmes across the State
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) March 10, 2020
Break The Chain
A mass hand washing campaign called “Break The Chain” was launched by the Kerala Health Minister to sensitize the people about the importance of public and personal hygiene. Ms. Shailaja stressed the importance personal hygiene to be able to prevent the COVID-19 from infecting self as well as the community. She also appealed all to promote ‘break the chain’ campaign as a safety measure.
We are able to minimise the spread of the deadly virus with early surveillance and people’s support. Now we need to follow personal hygiene as a healthy habit and wash our hands and face whenever we are in public contact. By doing it, we will be able to break the chain of virus infection, she stated while launching the campaign.
Mom tells me in our small town in Kerala, municipal authorities have kept soaps n water at public places including bus stations, waiting sheds etc so that people can wash their hands. #KeralaFightsCorona! Strong civic bodies make a difference, I rpt
— Liz Mathew (@MathewLiz) March 13, 2020
Home Delivery Of Mid-Day Meals
KK Shailaja Teacher in a Facebook post on March 12 wrote,
In the wake of COVID-19 in the state, distribution of mid-day meals, for Anganwadi under the Woman and Child Development Department, has already started. About 3.7 lakh students in 33,115 Anganwadi in the state will benefit out of the initiative.
The government shut down the Anganwadi centres, schools and colleges until March 31st owing to the COVID-19 outbreak. The state government wanted to ensure that this disaster does not have an impact in worsening the nutrition status of the children in Kerala. With mid-day meals often being the only source of nutrition for a considerable number of kinds in the country, the Kerala government decided to home deliver the mid day meals to them.
The 33,115 Anganwadi centres in Kerala, educating kids between the ages of 3 and 6, are delivering free mid-day meals to children at their homes, benefitting around 3.75 lakh Anganwadi kids. The state government is also providing nutritional services to around 4.75 lakh children under 3 years of age, 2 lactating mothers and around 3 lakh pregnant women, reaching nearly 13.5 lakh people at home in Kerala, the Minister said in the post.
An official from Kerala’s health ministry, informed NDTV that the mid-day meals being delivered to the children are in form of raw materials suitable for a week. Post which, the same will be delivered again, which includes, rice, wheat, beans, oil and snacks for mid-day meals.
Tracking The Tourists
Kerala decided to monitor movements of foreign tourists without ‘causing inconvenience to them’ after a tourist from United Kingdom was tested positive in the state. The Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan directed a rigorous surveillance in tourist destinations. The health department decided to shut down the government-owned Tea County resort in Munnar, where the tourist was staying, and directed all the employees to remain home quarantined.
At present, we have more than 5000 foreign tourists visiting Kerala and we ae tracking their movements closely, an official from tourism department told NDTV.
Furthermore, the government is also keeping a check on the people who are in self quarantine through house visits.
We have been keeping surveillance on home quarantined persons through mobile tracking. But we found that some persons are not following the instructions. So we have decided to monitor them through house visits and brief them about the risks of breaking the home quarantine instructions. A team consisting of a health worker, police official and health volunteer will visit every home where persons are quarantined and verify their status, Shailaja Teacher said during a press conference.
Panchayat presidents, and public healthcare officials are leading monitoring efforts on the ground to ensure that people don’t break quarantine, with healthcare workers offering all manner of support to those isolated at home.
Coronavirus Mobile App
Considering the panic and misinformation floating around related to COVID-19, GoK- Direct Kerala, an app launched by the Kerala government for Android phones, aims to keep the public informed about the pandemic. People can find COVID-19 related information and updates notified by the government on the app which was developed by the Kerala Startup Mission for the state information and public relations department. It will also send information and alerts by text messages.
A daily COVID-19 bulletin in English and Malayalam is available on the app which includes the number of persons under surveillance, under home isolation, the number of samples of suspect cases sent for testing, and the number of samples that have tested negative, district and city wise. It also consists of daily updates of cases confirmed, apart from the advisories on prevention protocol and general instructions to the public.
The app will also be used to share links to important protocol updates, and training videos for health and other line department staff, a statement from the government says.
Screening, Sanitizing And Solving The Mask Shortage
Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan issued a statement informing that each train entering the state from any of the 24 entry points, will be stopped at Kerala border and scanned by teams assigned to each coach comprising a medical expert, volunteer and cop. The teams will be responsible for screening and sanitising. This will also be done for all vehicles entering by road, he added.
Screening Intensified | #COVID19
???? Screening process has commenced at the borders of the State.
????Screenings are being done at railway stations, bus stations & checkposts.
????????⚕️????????Kerala Police & Health Officials are leading the effort.
Please cooperate with the officials. pic.twitter.com/Mb4rXCezXC
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) March 15, 2020
The state was also witnessing a shortage in face masks. To solve the shortage, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday announced that directions were given to engage the tailoring units of prisons, ‘on a war-footing’ basis, he tweeted. The first batch of masks produced by the Central Prison in Thiruvananthapuram were handed to officials of the health department.
#COVID19 | Solving The Mask Problem ????
In light of the shortage, directions were given to engage the prisons in the State in manufacturing masks. It has commenced on a war footing basis. Today, the Prison officials of Thiruvananthapuram Jail have handed over the first batch. pic.twitter.com/QKgHWqYNOg
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) March 14, 2020