Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja is the only Indian who was invited as a speaker to the United Nations Public Service Day on Tuesday. Shailaja was among those honoured for fighting and containing the spread of the novel coronavirus. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other top UN dignitaries came together for the webinar to talk about the strategies they adopted to fight the pandemic.

The webinar which streamed on UN Web TV, aimed to honour public servants who have been tirelessly working and supervising COVID-19 situation on the frontline.

The Minister of Health, Social Justice and Women and Child Development of Kerala, Shailaja spoke on the experiences of tackling the Nipah virus and the two devastating floods that happened in 2018 and 2019 and how the state was able to recognize and contain the coronavirus outbreak at an early stage. She also spoke about the importance of the health sector.

What You Should Know

  • Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja was invited as a speaker to the UN Public Service Day.
  • She was honoured for fighting and containing the spread of the coronavirus in Kerala.
  • The webinar was streamed on UN Web TV, saw the participation of top UN leaders.

“By drawing strengths on the decentralised public health delivery systems in the state, we activated our entire surveillance network the very next day of WHO’s statement of caution on a respiratory virus of pandemic potential,” said Shailaja, The New Indian Express reported.

Also Read: Kerala’s Rockstar Health Minister KK Shailaja, Fighting Corona Head On

“Right from the time when COVID cases got reported in Wuhan, Kerala got into the track of the WHO and followed every standard operating protocols and international norms and hence, we have been able to keep the contact spread rate to below 12.5 percent and the mortality rate to 0.6 percent.” said Shailaja.

Combating the coronavirus

The 63-year-old minister is known to have established a rapid response team and control rooms in the 14 districts as the first step to control the spread.  The state barred international flights two days before the country went into lockdown. Under her guidance, out of the 6.3 lakh migrant workers who were being sheltered in government run-camps across India, Kerala cared around half – 47percent, who were later slowly shifted to their natives via charter trains, reported The Wire.

Kerala’s cases are rising again

Speaking to Outlook India, Shailaja explained that the state was expecting a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases after the lockdown was lifted. “Till now, 1,87,619 people have reached the state from outside. The majority of new cases are among them—total confirmed cases have crossed 2,096 now (data from last week).”

Also Read: This Doctor In Assam Is Designing Masks & Shields For Healthcare Staff At Home

She further added, “We are not worried…the situation is not out of control yet. We have surveillance at airports, seaports and state borders. But with lakhs coming in, institutional quarantine is difficult. People who come by road or air can go for 14-day home quarantine if they don’t have any symptoms. Only symptomatic patients are shifted to hospitals.”

Feature Image Credit: Mathrubhumi English

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