- Anticipated the second wave: KK Shailaja
- Trying to contain the virus spread in clusters: KK Shailaja
- Our initial preparedness is helping us: KK Shailaja
New Delhi: The southern state of Kerala, which was being lauded for its efforts in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, is now witnessing a strong second wave of infections. Speaking about the surge in COVID cases at the 12-hour NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign’s #SwasthyaMantra telethon, Kerala’s Minister of Health and Social Welfare, KK Shailaja said that they had anticipated the second wave.
She explained the initial outbreak in the state and said,
After the lifting of the lockdown, the system changed completely. I think Kerala is having one of the longest drawn epidemics in the world as well as India. Our first case was reported in January and until May 3, we had 499 cases and the mortality rate at that time was less than 1 percent with 3 deaths.
Ms Shailaja said that as the lockdown eased in May, the number of NRI’s is very high in Kerala, most of whom came back to the state then.
When the lockdown was lifted for traveling in May, about 10 lakh people residing in other countries and states came back to Kerala by air, water, road and train. We followed proper protocols with this population and followed our strategy of trace, test, quarantine and treat.
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There were clusters of cases formed across the state in Kerala, Ms Shailaja said and therefore, the government formed a cluster-management strategy to contain the coronavirus spread.
To contain the virus spread in each of these clusters, we are supplying medicines, healthcare facilities and healthcare workers inside these clusters itself. However, we are struggling in this sense as once we control a cluster, there’s a new one that emerges. But we are trying our best to rid Kerala from coronavirus, our initial preparedness is helping us right now as well.
Ms Shailaja explains that the state has more than 83,000 dedicated COVID-19 beds in government hospitals, out of which 65 percent are vacant. Furthermore, out of the 2,883 ICU’s in the state, more than 55 per cent are vacant as well.
We are also trying some new methods like treating asymptomatic cases at home. Here, everyday medical staff is keeping in touch with these patients at home. We are also monitoring that quarantine guidelines are followed by them.
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Talking about how the government will continue controlling the cases, Ms Shailaja urged all the residents of Kerala to follow proper guidelines.
The first priority right now is to save lives of the people, the Health Minister signed off.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.