KK Shailaja
KK Shailaja

Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja fondly known as Shailaja Teacher has ranked first on the World's Top 50 Thinkers of COVID-19 Age list by UK's Prospect Magazine. The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern has ranked second the list, which was prepared through a public ballot.

Lauding the Kerala Health Minister for her efforts in the fight against COVID-19, the magazine wrote, "So deft was her handling of a 2018 outbreak of the deadly Nipah disease that it was commemorated in a film, Virus. In 2020, she was the right woman in the right place. When Covid-19 was still “a China story” in January, she not only accurately foresaw its inevitable arrival, but also fully grasped the implications."

"She rapidly got the WHO’s full “test, trace and isolate” drill implemented in the state, and bought crucial time by getting a grip of the airports, and containing the first cases to arrive on Chinese flights. Of course the virus returned, but there was rigorous surveillance and quarantine—sometimes in makeshift structures. The public messages have been consistent, and Shailaja follows them to the letter, with social distancing in all official meetings (which can go on until 10pm) and restricting herself to a Zoom-only relationship with her grandchildren," they added.

The former science teacher-turned politician was also honored by UN for her attempts in combating the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Kerala on Wednesday reported 1,547 new COVID-19 cases, said state health minister KK Shailaja.

"As many as 1,547 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the state today. 1,419 of those diagnosed today were infected through contact and the source was not traceable in 156 cases. 21 of them have come back from foreign countries and 65 from other states. 36 healthcare workers were also infected," Shailaja said.

"At the same time, 2,129 patients under treatment for the disease have recovered and were discharged from hospitals today. This is the second consecutive day when the number of recovered patients is more than the number of new active cases," she added.

The Health Minister informed that seven people succumbed to COVID-19 today, taking the toll to 305.

So far, 55,782 persons have been cured of COVID in the state, while 21,923 patients are still undergoing treatment.

"23,850 samples were tested in the last 24 hours. Till now, a total of 17,24,658 samples have been sent for testing, including 1,79,862 samples from high exposure groups as part of Sentinel Surveillance. We have declared 13 new hotspots today while 17 places have been exempted. There are presently 577 hotspots in Kerala," she said.

(With inputs from ANI)

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