Here are the highlights from what the Health Minister pointed out has been the reasons for a hike in cases, what her key area of concern is and how they have worked towards tackling it. KK Shailaja also talks elaborately about why Kerala should be given priority for vaccine distribution.
Why are the Covid -19 cases tally not coming down in Kerala and how it peaked during Onam
According to the health minister, Kerala is making organized efforts in controlling the surge of the Covid-19 but no matter what strategy is undertaken; every pandemic will have its peak unless there is a complete lockdown. Kerala’s efforts were to delay the peak or the sudden peak that leads to a dearth of hospital beds and a higher number of deaths.
Kerala has in the meantime upped its healthcare facilities adding more ICU beds, oxygen supply and even with a dense population, has been successful in keeping fatalities to just half per cent. The state reached its peak season steadily and even though they predicted death toll to cross 20, 000 they have not reached that level.
For KK Shailaja, during a pandemic, the disease gets spread to a maximum number of people and then comes down, but Kerala’s main motive was to check the number of deaths. She asserted that there was no crisis in hospital beds or a shortage of healthcare workers. Not at any point was 25 per cent of the ventilators available were occupied by patients, she added
Talking about if the authorities are satisfied with the outcomes, she said that Kerala health department has taken maximum care and efforts.
She apprised that the number of deaths in Kerala in 2020 has been less compared to that the previous year as per the November 2020 statistics and as soon as the December data comes, the government will make the difference in numbers public.
Kerala’s success rate in implementing Covid guidelines
· With intense and widespread campaigning, 80 per cent of the population has been following guidelines from wearing masks to using hand sanitisers.
· There are adequate health facilities but the challenges lie in handling a high number of old age people, dense population and cases with lifestyle diseases.
Centre’s response to Kerala government’s request to give it a priority for vaccination and further challenges on state
KK Shailaja informed that she has raised the issue to the Centre during the vaccine meeting that Kerala should get its supply of vaccine on an emergency basis. She has intimated Centre that Kerala is prepared to begin vaccination. However, she mentioned that the Centre has neither denied the state’s plight not there was any assurance, but she is hopeful that they will get priority, noted the state health minister.
Taking about challenges, the state is facing, she briefed that since everything has opened up as the Centre lifted the lockdown, the state cannot continue with strict restrictions on the movement of people or services and hence controlling cases in such times are even tougher.
Telling about their latest efforts, she said, Kerala is trying to implement reverse quarantine and thousands of workers are working towards it, she further added.
Avian flu and new coronavirus strains
Kerala has a history of suffering from infectious diseases, but the state government’s efforts and effective health care system has prevented great calamities affirmed KK Shailaja. Since the state has many water bodies with migratory avian creatures, it becomes prone to bird flu, she reasoned.
Finally, she said that every case or every death in Kerala gets reported calling for more media attention compared to other states.