The first novel coronavirus case in India was detected in Kerala when a student returned from Wuhan (the epicentre of coronavirus infection in China) tested positive on January 30. A couple of days later, two more positive cases were reported. The medical team kept them in isolation and provided the best possible medical facilities. All three patients have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from the hospital. But soon, the situation took a down-turn and Kerala along with other states in India have been witnessing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. However, there is much to celebrate as far as Kerala is concerned. God’s Own Country has fought tooth and nail to turn the odds in this unusual battle. This is the success story of how Kerala has started to flattened its curve of coronavirus.
Overseas people, the main culprit
When everything had settled down, the second phase of infections emerged in the state on March 8 when five people reported positive from deadly coronavirus, out of five three members had returned from Italy along with two of their relatives. Gradually, the numbers started stepping up as overseas people of the state began returning. Overall, 232 infected people in the state had returned from abroad.
Kasaragod, a hotspot of Kerala
As on April 15, Kerala has reported 387 cases, with 211 patients fully cured and three deaths. The number of recoveries and the decrease in active cases are a positive sign to contain the spread of COVID-19. According to administration and experts currently, there is no sign of community transmission in the state. The Kasaragod district was the hotspot of COVID-19 in Kerala were 44 per cent of the cases reported are from this region. But 61 people of this district have recovered as well.
Kerala CM takes quick action
The Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan has effective leadership qualities. When 15 cases were confirmed, he turned serious and issued an order to shut down schools, banned large gatherings, and advised people not to go for worship. Vijayan was in regular touch with media and internet service providers to know the requirements of those working from home. He urged to increase the production of sanitisers and face masks. The CM’s timely action relieved the fear and built the trust of the people.
Government acts timely
The Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan has been working overtime along with the administration and medical team. The Kerala government took the COVID-19 matter seriously, started aggressive testing, tracing infected people, arranging shelters for migrant workers who were trapped in the wake of nationwide lockdown, created quarantine facilities apart from this provided cooked food to a large number of people. With this effort by the state government, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Kerala dipped 30 per cent in the first week of April.
Entire district self-isolates
Some individuals also came forward like Malayalam superstar Mohanlal who shared two WhatsApp numbers for the people of Kasaragod district to take essential items of daily use. Police also delivered necessary supplies door-to-door. The home delivery was enforced forcefully in all the seven zones of Kasaragod. The seven zones of the district had been isolated and sealed the entry and exit points.
Police kept vigilance over the situation
Police have kept a vigil eye on high-risk houses, and a drone is also monitoring all the seven zones. Police patrolling has intensified, and COVID-19 safety apps are being used to check the physical movement of the people. Doctors are also monitoring the situation minutely to combat novel coronavirus.
Kerala, Health Minister KK Shailaja feels the battle is far from over.
“The present trends indicate that our preventive efforts have paid off well. However, we still need to be cautious as even a single patient can multiply the rate of infection many times.”
Fight against Nipah & Zika viruses
Kerala had already coped with Nipah and Zika viruses in the past. Nipah virus disease was detected in some of the districts such as Kozhikode and Ernakulam in Kerala. The deadly disease claimed 17 lives in 2018. When a 23 years old student in Ernakulam district was tested positive, the state government became serious and put 311 people under observation because they were in touch with the affected person.
The government assured the people that there was no need to panic. Besides this, a helpline number was set up and alerted hospitals to be ready to meet any situation. In the end, the Kerala government successfully overcame such viruses.
The other reason behind the success story of Kerala in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis is that the literacy rate in the state is almost 100 per cent. Hence, people accepted all the instructions of the government. The local media is also agile in the state. Most importantly, people are realising the gravity of the situation, cooperating with the administration, and the medical team admirably.