It was a tough battle, but we fought it well: Kerala's ex-health minister on outbreak of COVID-19

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

KK Shailaja, Kerala, health minister, Omicron

Kerala’s former Health Minister K K Shailaja was leading a “night walk” of women through a city street as part of a government campaign on the crucial day two years ago, when the alarming message was passed on to her via phone.

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

One of the medical students from the state, who was in quarantine after arriving from Wuhan in China, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus during the first wave, tested positive for the infection– a first such case in the entire nation.

Though the message was quite disturbing, the seasoned politician regained her composure and began exploring options to quickly reach Thrissur, over 275 kms away from here that night itself somehow as the affected woman was admitted to a hospital there.

Global Tech News Daily

Almost two years since the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 case reported in Kerala, Shailaja, who won global acclaim for leading the state in effectively managing the disease, said the night of January 30, 2020, was crucial for her as health minister.

From managing to get an air ticket last minute to reach Thrissur and convening an emergency midnight meeting of doctors and health officials there to boosting the confidence level of the team members and briefing the media about the first case-the job was quite hectic, she recalled.

Global Tech News Daily

“The outbreak of Nipah virus was actually an eye-opener for all of us…After that we were mentally prepared to fight any such infectious diseases in future. I think we could evolve a good disease management strategy and execute it well, which helped contain the spread of the disease effectively during that stage,” she told PTI in an interview.

Shailaja was the face of Kerala’s fight against COVID-19 during the initial phase.

A legislator from Mattannur constituency now, the former minister said even days before the Centre issued guidelines and protocols in identifying and containing the disease, the state commenced its preparations to fight the possible outbreak of the disease.

She said the news of the global spread of coronavirus came at a time when the state health department was about to conduct a state-wide mock-drill in all government and private hospitals for gauging preparedness to tackle Nipah.

“When I came to know about the new virus, I directed the drill giving thrust on that infection. Others may laugh at me if I say we even opened a control room here as we came to know that Wuhan was the epicenter. Because we were aware that several Keralite students were pursuing their higher education in the Chinese province,” she said.

An expert group was formed under the control room and team leaders were identified and given distinctive responsibilities to tackle the new virus, if it was reported in the state, she said.

Days before other states came up with an action plan, the Kerala Health Department deployed trained personnel in all four airports of the state and began checking the temperature of passengers arriving from abroad at their newly set up health desks there.

“We had only some infrared thermometers and other related equipment for the purpose. As no case was reported anywhere in the country, no central guidelines were in place. Thus, three persons, who arrived from Wuhan on January 27, were found to have slight fever,” Shailaja said.

Among the trio, who had been put under hospital isolation, that one student was tested positive on January 30, 2020.

After reaching Thrissur by 12.45 am, the minister, who was accompanied by two of her cabinet colleagues and health secretary, conducted an emergency meeting of doctors and senior health officials of the district at the government medical college.

Later, she confirmed to the media, who had gathered at the hospital premises in the wee hours, about the reporting of the first COVID case in the country.

“The following days and weeks were saw countless meetings, relentless planning and efforts to control the spread of the infection. It was really a tough battle but we fought it well through meticulous planning and collective action,” the ex-minister said.

All taluk and district hospitals were directed to keep an adequate number of isolation beds ready for COVID emergency and 100 beds in medical colleges in the initial phase.

Decision to buy and stock an adequate amount of PPE kits was taken and training to wear protective gadgets was started immediately.

Several rounds of online meetings of head nurses, ASHA workers and other health workers were conducted every day across the state to coordinate the medical treatment, surveillance, quarantine and also to boost their morale.

On the psychological impact of the disease, Shailaja said the first COVID patient, the woman from Wuhan, was very calm and bold even after knowing that she had contracted the virus.

“As she was a medical student, she was aware of the disease. She was shifted from the district hospital to the medical college in the early hours. When I talked to her over the phone, she said she was feeling ok and had no severe symptoms.”

But, there were persons who got thoroughly disturbed due to the mandatory quarantine and isolation like a Ranni-based family that arrived from Italy and tested positive for the virus, she recalled.

Stressing that the fight against the disease was a collective effort in the state, Shailaja said there were hundreds of doctors, nurses and health workers who set aside their personal affairs to take part in the mission to contain the infection.

“I met a nurse at the district hospital in Kasaragod when COVID was at its peak. When I said I was aware of their personal problems as they were unable to take leave, she reassured me and said she had taken permission from her family to work overnight due to the current situation….,” she said, lauding the healthcare worker’s undying spirit.

The coordination of various government departments under the leadership of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the whole-hearted support of the finance department despite the cash crunch played a key role in the battle against the pandemic, the woman leader added.

Noting that the most important thing in checking the spread of an infectious disease was to trace its source and isolate the affected people, she said those persons, put under isolation, should never feel that they are abandoned.

“Trace, quarantine, test, isolate and treat…that was our mantra. Even though the WHO guidelines gave thrust on the test, we thought isolation and quarantine were also important. I feel that helped us contain the infection spread effectively,” Shailaja added.

The state adopted a strategy to delay the peak of the first wave and took all possible steps to equip the health system to face any emergency during the gap, she explained.

Kanpur IIT had predicted 50,000 cases during the peak but the collective efforts helped the state to flatten the curve even though a second wave followed it, she said adding that her tenure as minister had ended by the time.

Though 2020 was COVID year, the death rate was 8 per cent less in Kerala compared to 2019, according to the Excess Death analysis conducted during the end of the year.

The lesser number of deaths was reported only in 7 places across the world during the period and one among them was Kerala, she said adding that the striking achievement was made possible through the containment strategy adopted during the time. It was also a reply to the opposition who had alleged that the state was covering up the actual figures of the COVID death, the ex-minister added.

On the super spread of COVID in the state, she said the testing facilities should be decentralised and the primary healthcare system should be further strengthened to overcome the crisis. Shailja also said steps should be taken to ensure that every single person displaying symptoms, should undergo a test. Hailed as ‘rockstar health minister’ by the global media for her able leadership, effective crisis management and mature intervention in arresting the first wave of COVID-19 in the state, Shailaja’s non-inclusion from the present Left government cabinet evoked widespread criticism.

News Related


New York Rangers get another comeback win to force Game 7 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

PITTSBURGH — How many times can the New York Rangers dig themselves into a hole and climb back out? At least one more, as of Friday night. The Blueshirts came ... Read more »

Wilson, balanced Aces cruise to 96-73 victory over Dream

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP) — A’ja Wilson scored 15 points, Kelsey Plum had 14 points and 11 assists and the Las Vegas Aces rolled to a 96-73 victory over the ... Read more »

EXPLAINER: Why frustration lingers in Okinawa 50 years later

The Associated PressFILE – U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Mike Anglen of Turner, Ore., center, stands atop a cliff as Sgt. Bryan Wallace of Pikin, Ill., waits for his turn before ... Read more »

Astros beat Nationals 6-1 for 11th straight victory

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel also went deep and the Houston Astros extended their winning streak to ... Read more »

Kreider scores late, Rangers edge Pens 5-3 to force Game 7

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chris Kreider’s long slap shot bounced over Louis Domingue and into the net with 1:28 left and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 on ... Read more »

Astros push winning streak to 11, roll past Nationals 6-1

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, and Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel also went deep to help the Houston Astros extend their winning ... Read more »

Moustakas, Drury power Reds to 8-2 victory over Pirates

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mike Moustakas homered twice and Brandon Drury drove in four runs to break out of a slump and lead the resurgent Cincinnati Reds to an 8-2 victory ... Read more »

Peterson's bases-loaded walk lifts Brewers over Marlins 2-1

MIAMI (AP) — Jace Peterson walked against Anthony Bender with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 Friday night. After starters ... Read more »

Padres: No cancer found during manager Bob Melvin's prostate surgery

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres say no cancer was found when manager Bob Melvin had prostate surgery on Wednesday. Melvin, 60, was recovering at home Friday after ... Read more »

Ogunbowale, Gray help Wings rally past Mystics, 94-86

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arike Ogunbowale scored 27 points, Allisha Gray had 21 and the Dallas Wings overcame a 15-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Washington Mystics 94-86 on Friday night. ... Read more »

Resigning North Dakota senator led lawmakers in travel costs

The Associated PressFILE – North Dakota Sen. Ray Holmberg listens during a joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee meeting at the Capitol in Bismarck, N.D., on Jan. 7, 2009. Holmberg, ... Read more »

Residents in picturesque California county hit with gas prices topping $7 a gallon

A California county known for its spectacular mountains and proximity to Yosemite National Park has been paying the nation’s highest gas prices. Read more »

Boudreau to return as coach of Canucks next season

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Bruce Boudreau will return as coach of the Vancouver Canucks next season after helping to turn the struggling NHL club around as a midyear replacement. ... Read more »

New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern tests positive for COVID

On Location: May 13, 2022 Catch up on the developing stories making headlines.The Associated Press WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has tested positive for COVID-19 ... Read more »

Today in History for May 14th

Highlights of this day in history: Colonists go ashore in Virginia to set up Jamestown; Lewis and Clark begin to explore Louisiana Territory; Israel founded; Skylab launched; Movie producer George ... Read more »

Twitter CEO expects Elon Musk acquisition to close, addresses spending cuts

Musk is awaiting details supporting calculations that spam, fake accounts represent less than 5% of Twitter's users Read more »

Padres: No cancer found during Bob Melvin's prostate surgery

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres say no cancer was found when manager Bob Melvin had prostate surgery on Wednesday. Melvin, 60, was recovering at home Friday after ... Read more »

Renovated NYC museum shows indigenous perspectives

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City recently finished a major renovation of its exhibition on the native peoples of the northwest coast of North America. Curators ... Read more »

Police release 911 calls in Gilgo Beach case

A woman who disappeared in a beach community on New York’s Long Island more than a decade ago, sparking an investigation into a possible serial killer, said “there’s somebody after ... Read more »

Academy Awards set 2023 Oscars for March 12

The Associated PressFILE – Oscar statue on the red carpet at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Next year’s Academy Awards will ... Read more »

Actor Fred Ward, of 'Tremors,' 'The Right Stuff' fame, dies

The Associated PressFILE – Fred Ward, a cast member in “30 Minutes or Less,” poses at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles on Aug. 8, 2011. Ward, a ... Read more »

Judge refuses to drop elections suit against Trump, media

NEW YORK — A Colorado judge on Friday denied motions to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by an election systems worker against former President Donald Trump’s campaign, two of its ... Read more »

Q&A: Becky G unveils every side of herself in latest album

The Associated PressFILE – Becky G appears at the Oscars in Los Angeles on March 27, 2022. Beck G’s latest album is “Esquemas.” (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) NEW YORK ... Read more »

North Korea reports 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19 outbreak

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea reports 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19 outbreak. Read more »

North Korea confirms 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea says 21 people died and 174,440 people were newly found with fever symptoms on Friday alone as the country scrambles to slow the spread ... Read more »

White Sox place Giolito on COVID list, activate Vaughn

The Chicago White Sox placed ace Lucas Giolito on the COVID-19 injured list and activated outfielder Andrew Vaughn following a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday. Giolito began experiencing ... Read more »

Traded back and forth, Ford learns to live out of suitcase

NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Ford has learned to travel light — and quickly. Since the start of the season, the 29-year-old first baseman has played for Tacoma, San Francisco ... Read more »

Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink satellites

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from California on Friday. (May 13) Read more »

Celtics' Robert Williams remains out for Game 6 vs. Bucks

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Boston forward/center Robert Williams missed his third straight game with an injured left knee as the Celtics tried to keep their season alive Friday night in Game ... Read more »

Padres sign Robinson Canó, plan to use him off the bench

ATLANTA (AP) — The San Diego Padres have signed veteran second baseman Robinson Canó to a major league contract and plan to use him as a left-handed bat off the ... Read more »

WNBA star's Russia detention extended by 1 month

The lawyer for WNBA star Brittney Griner says her pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by one month. Alexander Boykov told The Associated Press the relatively short extension indicated ... Read more »

Louisiana justices toss COVID-related charges against pastor

Hundreds of thousands of Americans fighting long-haul symptoms from COVID-19 Dr. David Putrino from Mount Sinai Health System and COVID long-hauler Joel Fram discuss the long-term effects of the disease.The ... Read more »

Sandy Hook lawsuits against Alex Jones on track to resume

The Associated PressFILE – This Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, photo shows radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones at Capitol Hill in Washington. The Sandy Hook families’ lawsuits against ... Read more »

Rockies' Bryant closer to return after cortisone shot

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant took swings in the cage Friday for the first time since he was sidelined with a sore back nearly three weeks ago ... Read more »

Mariners demote Jarred Kelenic to minors after poor start

NEW YORK (AP) — Rather than make his Citi Field debut against the team that traded him, Jarred Kelenic was demoted to Triple-A Tacoma by the Seattle Mariners on Friday ... Read more »

Biden: ASEAN partnership 'critical' in this moment

Looking to strengthen ties, President Joe Biden welcomes leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to Washington for the first time. “We’re launching a new era in U.S.-ASEAN relations,” ... Read more »

Phil Mickelson will not defend his title at next week's PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson caught lightning in a bottle last year at Kiawah Island, winning a major championship at 50 years of age. The fairways flooded, and the golf world stood and ... Read more »

Tennessee Titans' Malik Willis on Ryan Tannehill's mentorship comments: 'Everything is cool'

The Tennessee Titans didn’t take issue with Ryan Tannehill’s comments about mentoring third-round rookie Malik Willis. Willis and coach Mike Vrabel were asked about Tannehill’s scrutinized remarks following the first ... Read more »

Lawyers plan suit against Lufthansa over Jewish passengers

Lawyers for 26 passengers said Friday they told Lufthansa that they will sue the German airline for refusing to let members of a large group of Orthodox Jewish passengers board ... Read more »

Wild face offseason after yet another early ouster

While the Minnesota Wild were stacking up franchise records and securing the extra home game for the first round, general manager Bill Guerin carefully acknowledged a “great year” for the ... Read more »