Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has succeeded to control the Covid-19 outbreak by restricting it to the primary level, even as the rest of the country is still struggling to cope with the scary disease.

Over the past two days, the state has reported just one new case in Kasargod. Although there were a number of cases of patients testing positive having interacted with a large number of contacts, the state administration managed to identify most and keep them under observation, thereby preventing the risk of community infection.

As many as 26,000 people are in isolation at their homes, in addition to over 200 under observation in hospitals. As many as 2,140 samples have tested negative, leaving the total number of cases testing positive at 25.

Although Kerala was the first place to report the instance of pandemic crisis, when batches of students returning from China’s worst-hit Wuhan tested positive, there has been no deaths. All those admitted to hospitals on their return from China have since been cured and discharged.|

The threat of a secondary level attack arose only when a family coming from Italy gave the slip to the monitoring mechanism at the airport and interacted with a large number of people. All those primary and secondary contacts have been identified and isolated.

A few other cases of virus-hit patients getting into contact with others have come to the fore, but the authorities have succeeded to prevent the secondary infection, identified and isolated them.

With the outbreak apparently under control, the state has now turned its attention to the care and rehabilitation of those under isolation. Incidents of a few people escaping from isolation at hospitals and other such centres, public has managed to absorb the stress of a stringent protocol against the spread of the disease.

Community leaders, including the managements of places of worship, have volunteered to restrict crowds and even cancel events in view of the emergency situation. This has been achieved not by invoking rules and laws but by appealing to social commitment of the communities.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who congratulated the people for the success in containing the infection, however, stressed the need to keep continued vigil and pointed out that the task now is to attend to the needs of those in isolation, including their emotional and physical wellbeing.

At a conference of civic bodies, the CM said it is now for the local bodies and the grassroots level people’s representatives to take the work forward. He reminded them of high risks in the event of a community infection and urged them to be prepared for an eventuality. The conference was also addressed by Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.

The local bodies have been charged with the task of reviewing the available healthcare facilities, including the number of hospital beds and ICUs in their respective areas and identifying private buildings, hotels, lodges and other facilities where the people under isolation can be accommodated.

The CM presented the blueprint of an elaborate mechanism, which involved the local body, government apparatus, healthcare professionals, government officials and general public to fight the risk of the infection spreading to the next levels.

He stressed the importance of containing the economic impact of the virus infection, leading to widespread loss of livelihood to a large number of people, including roadside vendors, small traders, transport workers — bus and taxi drivers — and daily wage earners. Also, needing care are migrant workers from other states who have been thrown out of employment.

The CM also announced that Rs20,000 crore will be pumped into the state economy, which has been badly hit and the government has decided to extend help to see that it does not fall further.

“Rs2,000 crore would be given to Kudumbhashree (women empowerment scheme) who will give out small loans to the needy. Rs1,000 crore each would be given in months of April-May for the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme,” he said.

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