Covid-19 combat measures in place, says Kerala Health Minister
The next four weeks would be crucial for Kerala in its fight against the spread of the Coronavirus. With relaxations in lockdown brought about on account of the Onam festival, the state had seen unprecedented crowds in shopping zones during the past week. Though the state Health Department’s Soap-Mask-Social Distancing norms were in place, people who had been staying indoors for most of the year had ventured out in large numbers to celebrate Onam.
Shopping reaches a crescendo during the Onam holiday season, and it was no different this time around. With crowds flocking the streets and shopping centers, the Kerala Health Department is sure to have a difficult time in the next four weeks.
A complete lockdown during Onam season was out of the question, and a few restrictions had to be lifted for the festival season. According to Health Minister Veena George, the government is monitoring the situation and will soon hold a meeting to discuss the future course of action. This was primarily aimed at helping traders earn their bit, as their means of livelihood had got impacted hard by the Covid 19 pandemic, she added.
Pointing out that though many had observed the Covid-19 protocol when they came out of their homes, the Health Minister said that there were cases of not adhering to the norms. “Onam over, people returning to work after the holidays need to bear in mind that adhering to the social distancing norms would help prevent the spread of the virus. We fear the onset of the third wave of the pandemic, and it is a must that we need to strive towards halting the spread,” Veena George pointed out.
Covid-19 third wave threat prompts sprucing up of hospital infra
With the threat of the third wave of the pandemic getting louder, the Kerala government has made arrangements to cushion the impact of the virus if it arrives in the form of a third wave. The Health Department officials have been working overtime over the past few months, and the state’s public health systems have been spruced up. Vaccination is progressing at a much faster phase. The minister said hospitals starting from the taluk level had been equipped with adequate oxygen beds and intensive care units (ICUs). The number of ventilators deployed in all hospitals has also been increased.
Further, all district-level hospitals have been linked online with the Medical Colleges, she added. Kerala has a reserve of 870 metric tonnes of oxygen. This is being spruced up in case a need arises. The Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd (KMSCL) has a buffer stock of 80 metric tonnes, while production facilities are looking to have a supply of 500 MT more. Much more oxygen buffer stock is being readied, according to a health department note.
Covid-19 threat to children; combat measures stepped up
It has been predicted that the third wave of Covid -19 could impact children more. With this in mind, the state has upgraded pediatric care systems across all hospitals. Pediatric oxygen beds numbering around 500, 158 HDU beds, 96 ICU beds, and more are already in place.
The next four weeks are being touted as crucial for the state, and the government is keen on making the people realize the gravity of the situation. The need for social distancing and masks and sanitizers are reiterated by the health and police personnel across the state.
Vaccination is being stepped up with more doses administered every passing day. The state has also begun a Drive-In Vaccination facility to aid people who haven’t received their jabs.
With Kerala contributing more than half of the Covid -19 positive cases daily of late, it remains to be seen whether the man on the street would take things seriously, at least now.